Bengaluru-based startup Minus Zero has just unveiled its zPod, driving concept. The new rolling concept showcases the company’s self-driving technology. Minus Zero claimed that the zPod is India’s first fully autonomous vehicle.
The brand also stated that it is not an automotive company but a tech firm that will provide autonomous driving tech to other automakers to help improve their ADAS tech.
Minus Zero zPod Concept: What is It?
The zPod is an autonomous vehicle concept that is able to drive on its own in various environmental and geographical conditions using its camera suite. Unlike most autonomous vehicles that use LIDAR tech, the zPod is dependent on its six-camera suite instead of four cameras on the sides and two at the front and back. Minus Zero has stated that the concept can go up to autonomous level 5 with its AI tech, which means it can drive in real-world conditions without any human intervention.
Alongside the zPod, Minus Zero also revealed its True Vision Autonomy concept that uses the camera suite to navigate obstacles.
Interestingly, the zPod is equipped with a lounge-like four-seater configuration as all of the driving is done by the AI. Its suite of cameras and sensors processes information to make the best decision. The company stated that the camera suite will help bring production costs down.
Minus Zero: AI Tech For Autonomous Driving
Minus Zero has said that the zPod is just a technological showcase of what it is trying to achieve. The brand is aiming to reduce traffic congestion and road accidents along with the human injuries associated with them.
Gursimran Kalra, COO of Minus Zero, stated that Bengaluru "wastes 2.5 lakh litres of fuel every hour, every day just in traffic". He further added that all the costs of the inefficiencies when combined together "leads to a whopping $22 billion of losses to a single nation over a period of one year".
The company claims that the concept can be adapted to any existing vehicle type. Furthermore, the autonomous driving tech can also be retrofitted to existing cars as long as they have an engine control module.
According to Minus Zero, the new tech will solve some key problems like expensive hardware, the requirement of extensive data and navigation through complex traffic conditions as well as unruly infrastructure that is faced during the development of autonomous vehicles with its new form of AI it calls Nature Inspired AI (NIA).
Currently, AI-based tech tends to fail in conditions it is not trained in. Minus Zero’s AI additionally employs the use of predictive decision-making and physics-aware vision like a human brain.
Minus Zero: Not Going Into Production
The company has stated that it has no intention to put the zPod into production. The concept is just a showcase of the AI-based autonomous driving tech Minus Zero has developed. It says that the zPod could instead be an inspiration for automakers to try out non-driver-centric vehicle designs.
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