The future of autonomous vehicles may not be a car at all, but instead a portable robot that can fit inside a handheld suitcase before taking its place in the driver’s seat. Yes, that means a robotic driver is on its way to relieve us from the stress of commuting daily. Once installed in a vehicle, which will be easy to do and will take only a few minutes, it renders you free to do more important things or just sit back and relax!
This amazing driver robot is called IVO, short for intelligent vehicle operator. It uses a handful of cameras, simple motion sensors and a few mechanical devices to depress the brakes and turn the steering wheel. Users input a location using Google Maps and IVO drives them there autonomously.
With the help of 360°rotatable cameras specially designed to remove the effect of glare due to the sun, the IVO is capable of monitoring real time traffic and automatically identifying obstacles, traffic conditions and pedestrians accurately in the face of high speeds and wildly changing light conditions. In addition to this, it also has cameras facing towards the dashboard to keep track of indicators, gas levels, etc. The system compensates for its relatively simple sensors with highly sophisticated computer algorithms.
The biggest advantage of having an autonomous driver is that any vehicle can be transformed into an autonomous vehicle. This way, we can still utilize the fleet of worldwide cars as well as own an automated vehicle at a cheaper cost The idea is that anyone could carry and install an IVO robot.
The current prototype costs about $1,600 to produce, though cost reductions are anticipated when the product is made at manufacturing scale. By contrast, other high-profile autonomous vehicles (such as Google’s or Uber’s self-driving cars) can require converting the entire vehicle into an autonomous operator, and can add tens of thousands of dollars to the final sticker price.
IVO’s ingenious design and straightforward functionality will make it easliy affordable and widely used. One day, it might chauffeur us in taxis and buses, replacing human drivers and ensuring safer and more efficient transportation.