A decade of massive labour in an autonomous vehicle has produced an impressive development so far. But the arrival of an actual self-driving automobile that can move anywhere without any human assistance remains a mystery.
Having said that, a lot of companies including Google, Uber, Apple, Tesla and other outfits are investing millions of dollars in R&D to hit the road first. In some cities, self-driving shuttles are in operation, but the routes are extremely limited, typically to a mile or two. The self-driving vehicle uses an arsenal of technologies to automate the process of driving from start to finish.
For the uninitiated, the technologies that collectively underpin self-driving automobiles are referred to as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). This when combined with the likes of advanced Artificial Intelligence and engineering, produces a vehicle that can operate with zero human input.
2030 is still far!
From the European side, many automobile companies have joined the bandwagon exploring the latest technologies in the field, in a bid to stay ahead of the growing number of tech firms. According to one estimate, from Strategy&, by 2030 almost half of all kilometres driven in the EU could be driven by self-driving cars.
Sleeping and relaxing is the prime reason!
However, this doesn’t end here! As per the study by German consultancy, Horváth & Partners in association with Cordence Worldwide, sleeping and relaxing in the car are the prime reasons why consumers would be willing to exchange their hands on the wheel for an automated driver.
At present, key automotive players are China, the US, Sweden, the UK, Japan, and Germany. For the uninitiated, different levels need to be achieved before presenting the fully functional self-driving car. And they are
Level 1: Enhanced the quality of driving using technologies like cruise control.
Level 2: It features assisted steering and acceleration.
Level 3: Include LiDAR sensors that take care of monitoring operations
Level 4: Virtually absolute control over the car (steering, braking, and accelerating, but still required a driver to manoeuvre)
Level 5: Automated driving that requires zero human assistance
As we mentioned above, there are lots of startups/companies working in this field. Here is a list of the top five dynamic self-driving startups from Europe that are successfully making autonomous vehicles a reality today.
Founder: Ollie Dapper
Big Data company Xomnia has built the first self-driving boat that works entirely on artificial intelligence with a minimal budget and five cameras. According to the company, the images that enter the computer are directly passed into the deep learning network that acts like a brain.
In this case, the boat handles based on the gained experience and the collected data. As it evolves gradually, the boat sails completely independently. Having said that, an emergency button is employed to take over control of the system immediately. With these activities, Xomnia hopes to push the development in the autonomous maritime sector forward.
Founder: Christophe Sapet
NAVYA is a Lyon and Paris-based company that develops, manufactures and commercializes autonomous, driverless, and electric vehicles that combine robotic, digital and driving technologies at the highest level. NAVYA has a range of two autonomous vehicles: the AUTONOM SHUTTLE and AUTONOM CAB.
Baro Vehicles (UK)
Founders: Carlos Escudero, Daniela González, Diego Rossi, Gabriel J O Giani Moreno
Based out of Nuneaton, UK, BARO is a tech self-driving company who develops new generation machines to transport people and goods. Moreover, the company aims to bridge the gap between standard cars and autonomous vehicles. Additionally, the company addresses the need for a safer mode of transport as well.
Stanley Robotics (Paris)
Founders: Aurélien Cord, Clément Boussard, Stéphane Evanno
Based out of Paris, the startup is working on a robot called Stan in an attempt to minimize the time wasted in searching for space and to make airport parking lots more efficient. It is the first outdoor robotic parking service in the world.
Stan works with all kinds of cars and can pick up from the entrance and park it at the designated place. Upon return of the customer, it brings it back through management software based on the concepts employed in automation factory to move pallets around. This robotic valet parking doesn’t need your key as it clamps your wheels, lifts the entire car and moves it around. Once the car is in a parking space, Stan puts the car down.
Balyo (Moissy-cramayel, France)
Founders: Fabien Bardinet
Created in 2005, Balyo designs, develop and markets innovative handling robots. With its navigation technology, Balyo transforms standard forklift trucks into standalone intelligent robots, capable of working alongside human operators. With around 200 employees, Balyo is stepping up its international development, with rep offices in China, Singapore and now also in Australia. Balyo’s production units in Paris, Boston and Xiamen making it a global company.
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