A budding startup in India is bringing autonomous driving technology to commercial vehicle space targeting the truck drivers. The object is to lower the self-driving cost significantly when compared to the rest of the world.
The concept of self-driving trucks is not new. There have been attempts to make a viable case for this on a global scale. The autonomous driving brings greater safety and adds to the efficiency of the performance of the vehicle.
Silicon Valley has been the pioneer in this field so far. Uber and Google are working on the autonomous trucks as well along with the self-driving cars. Tesla, on the other hand, has introduced semi-autonomous driving for its select cars. Further, it is also working on self-driving trucks.
What these firms have to offer in the field of self-driving is expensive and is not for all. The kits are not made to fit all kinds of vehicles and the costs let the user ponder over its value. When it comes to trucks the cost is a concern and when these self-driving tech will become commercial, it might not attract too many eye balls due to costs and suitability.
Now, this is where Flux Auto comes to the rescue. It is a team of 16 members based out of Bangalore, hoping to revolutionise the autonomous system. If successful, they would bring autonomous technology to all existing trucks at a fraction of what it costs in the states. Effectively will lower the self-driving cost significantly.
Flux Auto doesn’t use the Lidar – Light Detection and Ranging – sensors which are the standard for autonomous vehicles. As they are expensive. When introduced they were $75000 per piece. However, now they cost $7500. But still, they are expensive when the costs are factored in for emerging markets. So, Flux Auto decided to bring in their own innovative algorithm vision to make things cheap and reliable. With a similar level of accuracy when putting it side by side to Lidar. The technology is as good as it can get. As told by the founder Pranav Manupuria.
The target is to take the price down to a level of $3,000-$4,500. The price would depend on the specifications that the customer wants from the equipment.
At the moment, the team is testing the cruise control, collision avoidance and lane keeping. The idea is to reduce the stress on the driver. The startup is looking to raise $1.5 million to develop the tech from scratch. However, they have been able to demonstrate the technology by equipping one truck and successfully conducting several test runs. If they are able to lower the self-driving cost significantly. They have a winner tech in their hands.
It would be interesting to see as to how things pan out. As the transport minister in India recently declared self-drive technology as a job terminator. And vowed to ban it.