Just a few years ago the idea of a self driving car was seen as a futuristic technology that would take decades to arrive. Now it is only a matter of when it will be available and this thanks to startups that are shaping this segment. Here’s a list (incomplete) of autonomous driving related companies, hardware, software and services, some of which have recently raised money from vc and investors :
- lvl5 : computer vision software to crowdsource high-accuracy maps for self-driving cars.
- starsky robotics , embark : self driving trucks
- ouster (raised 27M$ ) : best lidar to date
- AIMotive (raised 38M$ ) : full stack autonomous driving software
- Nauto (raised 159M$ ) : self driving safety
- drive.ai (raised 50M$ ) : self driving full stack
- cruise ( GM bought for 1B$) : self driving full stack
- pony.ai (raised 112M$ ) : claim safest self driving full stack
- zoox.com raised 250M$ ) : self driving automaker
My brother in law owns a Tesla model S in Paris and I had a chance to try it out last week. One of the most exciting experiences (Miles Davis would have added “with my pants on”) of the last times. You are driving with almost no noise ( I know Jeremy Clarkson will hate this but I like it so much) in total comfort on a car that comes from another planet : this is what it looks like.
First of all I must say that I hate cars and what they represent : I’ve always considered them a necessary evil. I spent tons of money around my cars (smashing them so many times when I was in my twenties), doing maintenance and repairing them that I developed what is my personal requirements list for a car :
- accident prevention : a car that foresees a potentially dangerous situation and takes control to avoid an accident/crash. With a car like this I would have saved tons of money and a couple of broken ribs
- no maintenance or lowest possible : if I have to use a car I want to have the lowest possible maintenance. Brakes, oil and filters, clutch, distribution belts, sparks …. There is always something to do with your car
- do not contribute to city air pollution or do it the less possible
Tesla ( and probably other electric cars in the future will ) is matching exactly my requirements for what I want in a car. Autonomous driving with all the available variants which range from lane/speed/front car distance control to full autonomous driving would make driving safer and reduce accidents and damage to the car.
And electric traction will make maintenance a distant memory : with the Tesla I tried which was set at maximum engine brake I barely never had to use the brake pedal; the cars brakes by using the electric motors as generators so you recharge you battery just by using the engine break
And performance comes last in the sense that I’m not a super car fan but pulling the gas to the floor on the Model S is a breathtaking experience. The picture on the left shows you the warp effect 🙂