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Portable “Chauffeur” Can Turn Any Car Autonomous

Portable “Chauffeur” Can Turn Any Car Autonomous

March 16, 2018

Robotics & High-Tech

TechRepublic –  The technology for driverless cars is already here, and it’s poised to proliferate widely in the year ahead. However, there are also over a billion vehicles already in use today that will take decades to become obsolete and be replaced by autonomous vehicles.

That’s why some researchers and startups such as the IVO Robot Driver at Ben-Gurion University are working on a solution that can make existing cars, trucks, and other industrial vehicles autonomous.

Respected roboticist Prof. Hugo Guterman of BGU’s Laboratory for Autonomous Robotics and his Ph.D student Oded Yechiel said that version 2 of IVO is coming shortly and it will fold down into briefcase and be installable in a vehicle within five minutes. IVO 2.0 is in the process of being spun into a startup and is currently entertaining offers from investors.

Watch a demo of the autonomous chauffeur (IVO 1) operating a golf cart in a BGU parking lot and explanation by Oded Yechiel >>

Transcript excerpt

“What you see here is actually the proof of concept, so you can even still see the wires; and the casing is not very nice, but the main idea is already developed and what we’re doing now is developing the second prototype that IVO will be. And it will be, of course, more like a product that you can buy off a shelf in a store,” says Yechiel.

“We’re designing this product in a way that it will be very simple for a user to first of all maneuver it from place to place and store it in your luggage compartment. You can just open it up out of a suitcase and put it in the driver’s seat. Install it in five minutes and that’s it. You have your own driverless car.

“The robotic driver connects to the steering wheel and pedals. Later on it will have an arm that can operate different features inside of the vehicle. It’s tailored just like a human driver and it has all of the sensors, all of the computing power, everything on it, and it can recognize the road and it can recognize objects in its environment. And it can autonomously drive the vehicle just like a human driver would.

“The main advantage of IVO is that it can transform any vehicle into an autonomous vehicle in five minutes. This makes it attractive to companies that have a fleet of vehicles, such as tractors, trucks or forklifts, which today are not autonomous.

“Our main approach today is not to go to urban environments. Instead, we want to go into niche applications such as mining, agriculture, and security and border control,” says Yechiel.

By Jason Hiner, a fellow of AABGU’s 2018 Murray Fromson Journalism Fellowship.

Read more on the TechRepublic website >>