In autonomous and self-driving vehicle news are Kodiak Robotics, PreAct Tech, LOXO, FF, Innovusion, Motional & Uber.
Kodiak Robotics Selected by US Army DIU
In October 2022, Kodiak robotics was selected by the United States Army and the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) for a 24-month, $49.9 million agreement to adapt our self-driving platform for the Army’s Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) program. Kodiak was the only autonomous vehicle company initially selected for this award out of 33 submissions, thanks to our proven leadership in autonomous systems development and commercialization, as well as our foundational focus on safety.
Through this agreement, Kodiak will work with the RCV program office to develop the autonomous solution for future Army ground vehicles designed for reconnaissance, surveillance, and other high-risk missions. Additionally, Kodiak will develop remote driving capabilities that will increase the flexibility and resiliency of these vehicles, while further reducing risk for soldiers and saving the lives of US servicemen and women.
Since the DARPA Grand Challenge, the commercial technology industry has greatly matured and developed autonomous vehicle technology. The Army and DIU see an opportunity to leverage those ongoing developments for national security, using non-traditional defense acquisition models like Kodiak’s contract in support of the RCV program. As The commercial product is developed over the next 24 months and beyond, Kodiak will provide that increased functionality and performance to the Army. More specifically, a key part of the project will be to develop a continuous technical pipeline that will enable the rapid development and deployment of new autonomous vehicle technologies as they become commercially available. The capabilities Kodiak will develop over the next two years for the Army and DIU align closely with Kodiak’s trucking roadmap. Kodiak’s military work will help the companmy progress Kodiak’s trucking stack and core commercial offering, including partnering with the Army and DIU to ensure the kodiakDriver meets the highest standards for safety and security.
Kodiak’s contract with the Army comes at a critical time. As Alexandr Wang has persuasively argued, nimble, AI-powered technologies will soon dominate the battlefield. The United States must continue to innovate and adapt disruptive technologies for defense purposes. Kodiak is proud to do our part to ensure the U.S. military’s technological superiority endures for future generations.
PreAct Tech Intros T30P Flash LiDAR
PreAct Technologies, an Oregon-based developer of near-field flash LiDAR technology, announced that its T30P flash LiDAR is now available. Vehicles with software-defined architectures require sensor technology that can support over-the-air updates over the life of the vehicle, and PreAct’s T30P sensor is the only flash LiDAR capable of meeting this requirement.
As the industry’s first sensor designed from the start to be software-definable and easily integrated into a complete ADAS or autonomous vehicle software stack for automakers, the T30P provides future-proof, high-performance sensing at a much lower cost than other LiDARs on the market.
“Not only are we excited to bring our software-definable flash LiDAR to market, but we have multiple production projects in the works and this is just the beginning of a period of rapid growth for our company,” said Paul Drysch, CEO of PreAct Technologies. “We’ve spent the last three years creating a solution that fulfills the need of software-defined vehicles, providing the most value over the long term and our work has been validated by Tier 1s and OEMs.”
As nearly every OEM is integrating high-performance computing into their vehicle and planning for the future, PreAct is committed to working with carmakers on future-proofing vehicles by delivering more sophisticated ADAS and safety applications throughout the life of a vehicle. PreAct’s software-definable LiDAR is not only designed to enable new and better ADAS applications, but also to improve the performance of the hardware over the life of the vehicle through software upgrades. In addition, the flexibility and simple design of PreAct’s flash LiDAR allows Tier 1 suppliers and OEMs to package one sensor for multiple use cases – everything from curb detection and parking assistance to automatic door actuation and self parking.
T30P is also well suited for robotics and other industrial systems applications which require a need for fast, accurate and high-resolution sensors that can reliably define and track objects in all environmental conditions.
“As an industry analyst who talks with OEMs and suppliers frequently, it is clear to me that there is a pressing need for better, faster and more affordable LiDAR solutions to further advance the development and adoption of ADAS and autonomous driving features and functionality,” said Ian Riches, VP of the Global Automotive Practice at Strategy Analytics, now part of TechInsights. “What I’ve seen from PreAct so far is very promising and I expect we’ll see quite a few more customer announcements in the coming year.”
Available globally through Digi-Key Electronics, and Argo in Japan or directly from PreAct./
LOXO Autonmous Last-Mile Delivery Vehicle
Tech start-up LOXO unveiled its autonomous vehicle for last mile delivery. Developed and produced in Switzerland, it will be on public roads for the first time in spring 2023. This will be the first commercial application of an autonomous last mile delivery vehicle in Switzerland and presumably in all of Europe. However, LOXO is not only intended to ride on local roads, but in other countries too. The focus lies on Germany and Great Britain. The claim for the new transport solution is no less than to revolutionise autonomous mobility and e-commerce and to become the standard for home deliveries. Thanks to disruptive technology, LOXO is not only safe and sustainable on the road – it also offers an answer to the current problems in the area of last mile delivery such as low margins, high delivery costs or lack of drivers.
The rapid growth of e-commerce and the need of customers to receive goods quickly poses numerous challenges. With regard to home deliveries, these are above all high costs, a lack of drivers and a poor environmental balance. The Swiss start-up LOXO promises to solve all these problems with its autonomous vehicle for last mile delivery. “Thanks to electric propulsion, optimal charging capacity and the autonomous, unmanned driving mode, LOXO increases the efficiency and flexibility of home deliveries. In addition, the carbon footprint is reduced through the principle of shared mobility”, says Amin Amini, co-founder and CEO of LOXO.
Lara Amini-Rentsch, co-founder and business lead, specifies the economic advantages: “LOXO enables scalable, time-independent and high-margin deliveries. Buyers can decide for themselves when they want to receive their order while paying less. Retailers, in turn, can increase their margins. Accordingly, we are convinced that LOXO will revolutionise e-commerce and become the standard for last mile delivery.”
Vehicle and service in one
LOXO is an autonomous vehicle coupled with services, also called Autonomous Delivery as a Service (ADaaS). On the one hand, it can be used for deliveries from the supplier to the end consumer or business customer, on the other hand, it is suitable for hub-to-hub transports. The overall product consists of three components: (1) the vehicle incl. maintenance and servicing, (2) a software service package and (3) the “customer success package”, which includes the development of a customer- specific use cases.
Unique technological approach guarantees highest safety
“LOXO’s USPs include its optimised cargo volume for the European market and its full integration into the customer’s IT. It is also the world’s first vehicle without rotating sensors”, says Claudio Panizza, CTO and the third of the founders. “Instead, the LOXO vehicle is equipped with a unique combination of radar, lidar, sonar, camera, and powerful algorithm. As a result, it detects people and objects in a 360-degree field of view and guarantees maximum safety.” Any sign of danger immediately initiates an emergency stop. In addition, LOXO’s speed fits in well with city traffic and every journey is monitored by trained personnel. If necessary, they can intervene at any time.
First commercial application in Switzerland and Europe
2023 will be an exciting year for LOXO. In spring 2023, the pre-sale will start, followed by the first autonomous deliveries on public ground. What’s special: It will be the first commercial application of an autonomous delivery vehicle in Switzerland and presumably in all of Europe.
Innovusion Falcom LiDAR for FF 91
Faraday Future Intelligent Electric Inc. (“FF”) (NASDAQ: FFIE), a California-based global shared intelligent electric mobility ecosystem company, today announced the selection of Innovusion’s Falcon LiDAR to power the FF 91’s autonomous driving system. The system is intended to seamlessly integrate into the FF 91 Futurist to deliver additional real-time 3D vision, even in adverse weather conditions or the darkest of nights, providing a safer and more reliable driving experience.
“The FF 91 Futurist will embrace the latest technologies to employ driver assistance features that help us achieve new levels of safety, driver comfort, and convenience. ”
Innovusion’s Falcon LiDAR is designed to give the FF 91 Futurist unprecedented insight into the environment far in front of the car. Enabled by Falcon’s long-distance capability and high angular resolution, other vehicles in the FF91’s path can be detected up to 1,600 feet away (over five football fields), and even pedestrians and small road debris can be detected over 650 feet away.
Falcon’s advanced vision capabilities assimilate uninterrupted full field-of-view and high-resolution data collection, enabling superior visibility and improved safety in complex road conditions. Leveraging 1550nm laser technology, Falcon can cope with challenging weather and environmental conditions. Rain, snow, in the dark of night, or on the sunniest of days, the forecast provides consistent, real-time precision.
SilC Tech Intros Eyeonic Vision System
-SiLC Technologies, Inc. (SiLC), recognized for advancing the state of machine vision, announced the launch of the EyeonicTM Vision System, the industry’s most compact and powerful coherent vision system. The new system features the highest resolution, highest precision and longest range while remaining the only FMCW LiDAR solution to offer polarization information.
The Eyeonic Vision System integrates the company’s unique photonics technology into the industry’s first available turnkey vision solution – a highly flexible subsystem that reduces time to market for manufacturers seeking to incorporate machine vision into their products. Targeted to robotics, autonomous vehicles, smart cameras and other advanced products, the Eyeonic Vision System sets a new benchmark, delivering the highest levels of vision perception to identify and avoid objects with very low latency, even at distances of greater than 1 kilometer.
“Our goal is to change the status quo for machine vision,” said Mehdi Asghari, SiLC founder and CEO. “When bringing vision to machines the criticality of ranging precision, direct monitoring of motion through instantaneous velocity, spatial resolution for recognition of fine features and polarization for material detection cannot be understated. For machines to augment our lives they must have a vision solution that is powerful, compact, scalable, and unaffected by environmental conditions including interference from other systems. Our groundbreaking technology will empower the next generation of machine vision applications with bionic vision that will exceed that of humans and yet be compact, cost effective and power efficient.”
At the heart of the Eyeonic Vision System is the company’s fully integrated silicon photonics chip. With roughly 10 milli-degrees of angular resolution coupled with mm-level precision, it provides more than 10x the definition and precision of legacy LiDAR offerings. This enables the Eyeonic Vision Sensor to measure the shape and distance of objects with high precision at great distances.
The new Vision System couples the Eyeonic Vision Sensor and a digital processing solution based on a powerful FPGA. The compact, flexible architecture of the new system enables synchronization of multiple vision sensors for unlimited points/second. The Eyeonic Vision System is highly versatile – supporting multiple scanner options and providing customers with the flexibility to tailor their designs to maximize performance for distance and field of vision for their application. It is accompanied by a broad range of accessories.
Motional & Uber Launch Public Robotaxi Service in Las Vegas
Motional and Uber today announced the launch of their public robotaxi service in Las Vegas, NV. For the first time ever, Uber customers are able to hail an autonomous ride using Motional’s all-electric Hyundai IONIQ 5-based robotaxis. Motional and Uber are launching with vehicle operators now to lay the groundwork for a fully driverless commercial service, with the goal of launching the driverless service to the public in 2023.
“Today, Motional becomes the first AV company to conduct all-electric autonomous rides on the Uber network for public passengers,” said Akshay Jaising, Motional’s Vice President of Commercialization. “It’s a testament to our technology and the power of our partnership with Uber that we’re able to go from concept to consumer in such a short time. Las Vegas is the first of many cities in which Motional’s AVs will become an everyday transportation option for Uber customers looking for a safe and convenient ride.”
This service is the first in Motional and Uber’s 10-year commercial partnership that will see Motional’s Level 4 autonomous vehicles (AVs) deployed for ride-hail and deliveries on the Uber network in major cities across the U.S. The public robotaxi service will first launch in Las Vegas before expanding at a later date to Los Angeles, CA. The Las Vegas pilot arrives just a few months after Motional and Uber finalized the multi-year partnership, demonstrating that both companies are committed to entering new markets and introducing autonomous technology at scale to millions of Uber customers – all while making meaningful progress on leading the industry to zero emissions.
“Motional has proven themselves to be an industry leader, steadily and safely progressing autonomous technology towards a driverless future,” said Noah Zych, Global Head of Autonomous Mobility and Delivery at Uber. “We’re thrilled to take this next step together in Las Vegas, and look forward to continuing to integrate autonomous technologies into the Uber network to grow our business by providing customers with additional reliable, affordable and effortless transportation and delivery options.”
The announcement marks the second autonomous service launch from Motional and Uber this year. In May, Motional’s AVs began conducting autonomous deliveries for Uber Eats customers in greater Los Angeles. The success of the service, which quickly expanded to additional restaurants, proves the market opportunity and the appetite among Uber merchants and customers for a driverless delivery option.
With the launch, Motional is now the first AV company to conduct both deliveries and rides on a major network like Uber. Motional is uniquely experienced in deploying AVs for ride-hail, having operated a public robotaxi service in Las Vegas for five years. Combining this expertise with the world renowned Uber network enables consumers to experience autonomous rides for the first time in a way that’s affordable, convenient, and safe. A robotaxi is now an additional transportation option for Uber riders to choose from as they’re empowered to go anywhere and get anything.
Customers in Las Vegas interested in taking a ride in a Motional robotaxi can visit the Uber app and select UberX or Uber Comfort Electric options for a chance to be matched with a Motional AV. If an autonomous vehicle is available to complete the trip, Uber will match the rider to the vehicle and they will receive an offer to opt-in before the autonomous trip is confirmed and dispatched to pick them up.