Self-driving vehicles are right around the corner as they seemingly are testing everywhere these days. One issue is that once they do become commonplace, you will either have to buy a new vehicle or have your old one retrofitted. One Israeli startup may have a solution.
IVObility is looking to cut out the middle man and just give you a robot driver. No new vehicle, no retrofitting. Just hand over the keys and let the robot drive. Kind of looking like a person you might create in Minecraft, the humanoid sits in the drivers seat with its arms turning the steering wheel and legs controlling the pedals.
It sees everything a normal driver would as the head is filled with sensors and cameras. These allow the bot to navigate the roads and avoid any obstacles that may get in the way. As far as the limbs go, they are completely mechanical which allows the driving robot to adapt to any vehicle.
Robot Driver Pilot Program To Launch Later This Year With Release Targeted for 2020
Now seeing a human-like robot driving a car might freak some people out, but when self-driving vehicles do become the norm having a plug and play option like this could save a lot of time and money. Simply put the robot in the car and you are ready to go. If you want to drive yourself, simply remove it.
IVObility will launch a pilot project at a European airport in 2019, with plans to make the robot available for purchase in 2020. No word yet on pricing but the company will be offering three versions of the robot. One will be fully autonomous while the other two will be more cost-effective versions that are semi-autonomous or remote control based.
While promising, we don’t think a robot will be driving you home from the pub any time soon as the company will be initially focused on industries whose vehicles not encounter much street traffic such as agriculture, mining, security, and border control.