Now you can buy your own DIY self-driving car!

Now you can buy your own DIY self-driving car!

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The recent GM acquisition, OSVehicle, today unveiled the EDIT DIY self-driving car significantly lowering the barriers to entry for start-ups to develop autonomous vehicles. GM acquired OSVehicle in March 2017 for $1.1 billion in a bid to develop a self-driving “Vehicle-as-a -Service” (VaaS). OSVehicle had its debut at Y-Combinator in Silicon Valley where it introduced the TABBY EVO exposing the OSVehicle team to many conversations which they incorporated in the development of the EDIT. 

Being 100% modular allows companies to repair, replace and adapt different components resulting a tenfold longer product lifetime, lower total cost of ownership and recyclability. Companies can also upgrade the connected car & self-driving modules as technology improves over time without discarding still viable components. EDITs modular technology allows you to easily embed several autonomous driving technologies from level 0 to 5 or add your own self-driving code and custom hardware stack of lidars, sensors, CPUs, etc.

EDITs friendly shape, which easily transformable according to the needs of the customer that could help the transition towards a different layout of the autonomous driving cars of the future. Being modular makes the EDIT easy to repair and upgrade, disrupting many sectors as we transition faster to a zero emission and zero fatality mobility. The body is divided into five primary parts, four molds (front, rear, roof and double symmetrical door), optimizing production and decreasing costs. The interior can provide different settings depending on the level of autonomous driving. In a level 5 version, there is a “vis a vis” seating layout with a comfortable table in the central area without steering wheel where you can work while commuting.

Barriers to entry as a result of cost and time to develop exclude many great start-ups and ideas from the self-driving sector. EDIT is a ready-to-use technology that saves years of R&D and millions of dollars. There is no need to reinvent the wheel for startups that are struggling with reverse engineering and to cost-effectively integrate the newest technology into the closed design of cars already in the market. EDIT allows start-ups to employ a “lean and distributed” manufacturing principle thereby avoiding huge investments in factories resulting in a reduction of more than 80% in initial costs. OSVehicle claims its IKEA like approach saves up to 70% of logistic costs and hacks import taxes by shipping ‘EDIT’ in components as opposed to complete vehicles. OSVehicle uses the example of Nepal where import duty on assembled vehicles is 238% compared to 3% for ‘EDIT  components. OSVehicle did not provide any other guidance on the cost of the EDIT.

The disruption caused by the first ever ready-to-use Self-Driving EV will be felt in various sectors, including:

  • Ride and Car Sharing fleets don’t last more than two years due to heavy use. Vehicles that are modular, customizable and upgradeable prevent obsolescence, extending the life of a vehicle up to 20 years;
  • EDIT can be efficiently customized with heating and cooling components, disrupting commercial applications such as the Food Delivery Services;
  • Self-Driving Vehicle start-ups struggle with reverse engineering and to cost-effectively integrate new technology into the closed design of the traditional car. By adding non-integratable hardware to existing production vehicles, the interior and exterior designs of these vehicles could seem compromised. ‘EDIT’ is a production vehicle, future-proofed and designed specifically to be modular and always upgradeable.

EDIT is a white label platform for branding purposes whereby a brand can customize the exterior body and interior, still keeping the road legal certification. By being a Vehicle-as-a-Service solution companies can use EDIT to quickly deliver models tailored for each service and country. OSVehicle states that with the rise of food delivery, ride and car sharing, vehicles should focus on the service brand and its needs, not the car brand.

‘EDIT’ is designed in Italy by the OSVehicle team in collaboration with the design company Camal. EDITs design is compliant with European, US, and Asian safety regulations.

If you are only a hobbyist or ultra lean start-up wanting to build a self-driving car and find that the cost of EDIT is still too high, follow our advice in the earlier post. Just buy the OSVehicle TABBY EVO from as little as $12,000 and add to that George Hotz’s self-driving car kit which he plans to market through his company comma.ai at a price of $1,000.

The future is already here. Please feel free to share your thoughts on the EDIT DIY autonomous vehicle with the community in the comment section below or the OSVehicle forum on our app, that is if you have swiped right to “like” the EV.

vaas-EDIT_Self_Driving_Car_modular_exterior_OSVehicle

vaas-EDIT_Self_Driving_Car_modular_exterior_OSVehicle

vaas-EDIT_Self_Driving_Car_modular_exterior_OSVehicle

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The race for self-driving taxis in the USA is on

The race for self-driving taxis in the USA is on

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A slew of self-driving pilot programs has been announced recently, the latest being Delphi. The auto parts company previously owned by GM announced that it would roll out self-driving taxis in the USA this year. Delphi is already piloting a program in Singapore where it pilots an Audi SQ5, kitted with 26 sensors. The pilot would be extended to three vehicles in June and is done in conjunction with the Singapore government where the company hopes to have operating taxi service within three years. According to Automotive News it is anticipated that Delphi will host the US pilot in either Pittsburg or Boston and that services would commence in September 2017.

Delphi’s pilot program allows passengers to see what the cars “brain” sees on a tablet, which it calls its “comfort cam”, soothing first-time users of the service. Already speculation is rife that Intel, which just last month paid a staggering $15 billion for Isreali autonomous tech company, Mobileye, would acquire Delphi. The three companies are already integrating their technologies to provide autonomous systems for car manufacturers, as soon as 2019.

Delphi would extend the pilot to Europe in the 3rd quarter and will switch its test vehicles to an undefined electric vehicle by 2018. The regulatory environment for public testing eased last week as Germany passed a law allowing for the public testing of autonomous vehicles.

Competitors, Lyft and Waymo also signed a partnership agreement this week. Waymo, previously know as Google’s self-driving program is already piloting Chrysler Minivans and Lexuses in Phoenix. The company last month invited people living in South East Phoenix to apply for the program, allowing the participant to hail a ride via a mobile app for local trips. Already as much as 10,000 such rides have been completed by Google staff.  Waymo announced in April that it would increase its autonomous fleet from 100 to 600 Chrysler Pacifica minivans. It is no surprise that Waymo did not partner with Uber since Waymo claims that Uber stole some of its technology in an ongoing court case between the two companies. Reuters reported that according to Lyft the transaction is not exclusive, leaving the door open for other partnerships such as Lyft’s shareholder GM.

GM paid $500 million last year for a stake in the USAs number two ride-sharing company; the automaker also acquired Cruise Automation to spearhead its autonomous vehicle strategy. GM is very aggressive in the autonomous space, trying to carve out a lead to make up for ground lost to newcomers such as Tesla. GM is spending vast amounts of money to this end, for instance paying $1.1 billion to acquire its second Y Incubator company, the Italian based OSVehicle, to develop a self-driving “Vehicle-as-a -Service” (VaaS) platform. GM’s efforts are seeming to pay off as the respected research firm, Navigant, recently ranked it and Ford at the top of the self-driving leaderboard.

Companies like Delphi, Intel, and Nvidia, are hoping to sell their driverless systems to automakers in what is expected to be a market of around $100 billion within the next couple of years. BMW last week unveiled 40 BMW 7-series equipped with Intel’s driverless technology. The test, using the specially converted autonomous 7-Series is part of the German company’s project that will see 155 million test miles driven. Nvidia, an early front-runner in the self-driving tech space lat week, announced that Toyota would use its autonomous microchip built on Nvidia’s artificial intelligence platform called Drive PX. Both Daimler and Audi have already partnered with Nvidia on its Drive PX system.

Precursors to larger ride sharing and hailing services would be regulation, computing infrastructure, and connectivity. Governments would have to enact regulation to allow driverless cars while processing power and data centers need to be increased many fold to accommodate driverless technology. So also is 5G connection a requirement, daily use of an average self-driving car would be four terabytes of data.

In February we provided a summary of the disengagement reports by companies doing public testing on Californias’ roads. Only 10 of the permitted 20 companies filed reports, this number would definitely increase in 2017 judging from all the pilots announced recently. The pilot programs currently in action are mostly for level three and four autonomy and are expected to be commercially available from 2020 onwards. Even though it is expected that the Tesla 2018 models would have level five compliant hardware installed full autonomy is only expected in the latter half of the next decade.

The video by BMW below provides a short overview of the different autonomous driving levels.

 

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Uber self-driving car could be grounded by Google

Uber self-driving car could be grounded by Google

Uber’s self-driving pilot program may be halted in May due to a court order. According to a Reuters report, the Judge in the Waymo Uber court case warned the car-hailing company that should his director plead the 5th Amendment, and not testify for fear of incriminating himself; he might just grant the injunction sought by Google’s self-driving company, Waymo.

The case against Uber was brought before the San Francisco District Court in February. Waymo claims that its former employee, Anthony Levandowski, downloaded 14,000 files related the Google autonomous vehicle program before leaving to join Otto, an autonomous vehicle company acquired by Uber in 2016. Otto, using Level 4 autonomy equipped semi, successfully delivered a load of 50,000 beers on a 2-hour journey to Colorado Springs in October 2016.

Judge William Alsup warned Uber’s legal team in a closed hearing this week that unless Uber can prove they have not used any of Waymo’s technology associated with the files, that he would like to hear Mr. Anthony Levandowski version. The Judge went further, saying “I’m sorry that Mr. Levandowski has got his — got himself in a fix. That’s what happens, I guess, when you download 14,000 documents and take them, if he did. But I don’t hear anybody denying that.”

Uber has yet not responded to Waymo’s claims and is trying to push for arbitration, where Mr. Levandowski can testify in a closed hearing without fear of being criminally charged.

Uber last week temporarily grounded its autonomous vehicle pilot project after a collision caused by another vehicle. The company lifted the grounding on Tuesday. The hearing, set for May 3, could lead to a longer injunction of Uber’s self-driving program, wich would not add to alleviate the company’s tarnished public image. Should Uber be handed an injunction, it does not stop them from testing in other countries.

In other Uber electric vehicle-related news, the ride-haling company had to withdraw from Denmark after the introduction of a new law making it difficult for the company to operate its business model. And in the UK the company announced that it would expand it’s existing electric vehicle fleet from 20 Nissan Leaf and 30 BYD e6‘s to 150 cars in the City of London. The company will adapt its app and install fast chargers to assist the drivers of the EV’s.

 

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NextEV gets support for its autonomous car the NIO EVE

NextEV gets support for its autonomous car the NIO EVE

NextEV gets support for its autonomous car the NIO EVE in the same week in which a funding crisis ankle taped another aspirational EV startup from China, Faraday Future, backed by a Chinese internet company, LeEcoBaidu Inc, the Chinese search engine this week led an investment round estimated at $600 million into NextEV. NextEV, a global startup as it calls itself, with offices in China, Germany, UK and the USA launched it’s auto brand NIO, in December 2016 in London. NextEV is also one of the first participants of the Formula E franchise held in various cities around the world to promote electric vehicles. NextEV has its roots in racing, founded in 2004 by the Chinese Minister of Sports with the intent to be a Chinese contender in A1 Grand Prix. The NextEV TCR team eventually ended up being one of the first teams to compete in Formula E, winning the driver’s title in the first season but came last in the second season. The exposure nonetheless is a good testing ground for technologies, gaining experience and marketing. NextEV’s Formula E team lies at a respectable fourth position in the overall team standings after the third round in the third season, held in Buenos Aires Argentina during February 2017.

NIO unveiled its autonomous vision, to be released in the USA in 2020, the NIO EVE, at a world premiere event during the SXSW 2017 in Austin Texas. The NIO EVE is a Level 4 Automated electric vehicle for the US market, anticipated for release in 2020. NextEV partnered with MobilEye, recently acquired by Intel, NVIDIA and NXP Semiconductors to develop its autonomous vehicle. Along with the release of the NIO EVE, U.S. CEO Padmasree Warrior showed a video of the NIO EP9 completing the first historical feat of racing around the America‘s Track in Austin Texas without a driver, reaching a top speed of 160mph. The vehicle also broke a lap record with a driver.

Baidu, looking for new growth areas, created a $3 billion investment fund, Baidu Capital, found the fast-growing electric vehicle market attractive at a time when the vehicle and the internet are moving closer to each other. NextEV raised $500 million in 2016 from investors such as Tencent, who is also invested in Future Mobility, Hillhouse Capital, who also invested in UBER,  Sequoia Capital and Joy Capital.

Judging from the interest in NextEV‘s offering from investors consumers can certainly look forward to being wowed by NextEV while it pushes the boundaries, not being tied to the red tape associated with most Big Auto companies.

Read more on the Chinese internet billionaires investing in the fast-growing electric vehicle market at the following link.

 

 

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