AI – Still more of a hype than reality? (autonomous vehicles)
Artificial intelligence algorithms designed to behave like humans have already entered into our lives. Right from apple’s Siri to Windows Cortana, AI has facilitated with easy solutions to our silly problems changing our everyday lives. Machine learning technology is already weaving into many of the applications we human already use by reducing human efforts to solve critical problems in day-to-day life. With this AI has spread its reach in industries like healthcare, automotive, finance, agriculture, defense and security etc. However the pace at which AI is reforming the mobility industry space, it is pretty clear that driverless vehicles will be soon taking control of how humans and goods move around. The use of AI in automotive industry will be a gateway for AI technology providers to gain the customer’s trust and change the common public’s perception of AI as a whole. But how is AI reforming autonomous driving industry?
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Currently the assistance to the driver for safer driving is provided by vision/camera, radar, and LiDAR based sensing algorithms. However as controls for driving is shifting from human to machine, sensing systems has to be more precise and reliable. Artificial intelligence along with the sensor fusion technology gives a robust support by vehicle surround mapping for transferring the complete control of car to the system. Almost all of the leading automakers are either partnering or acquiring the AI technology providers along with maintaining the existing partnerships with their Tier 1 suppliers. The overall automotive industry is restructuring wherein the control is moving from OEMs to the technology providers. Tier 1 suppliers, Tier 2 suppliers, AI technology providers, mapping solutions provider, and shared mobility companies together are taking control of the driverless cars industry while OEMs are trying to make their presence count by either acquiring or funding the exceptional startups and other existing players as emergence of new business model is posing challenges for traditional OEMs. OEMs are expected to shift their business model towards more B2B relation and are focusing more on software-centered solutions similar to that of the smartphones. So what are the recent reforms in automotive industry?
Ford Motors invested $1 billion in Argo AI, an artificial intelligence startup to deploy fully autonomous level 4- capable cars in order to compete with the Google’s Waymo, Uber, and GM’s Cruise Automation among many others.
Internet giants such as Google and Baidu are also entering this highly disruptive market with their own driverless cars projects. Google’s Waymo is the prime example of an AI based autonomous vehicle. Waymo has started the development of Level 3 and Level 4 autonomous vehicles focused towards developing a complete autonomous solution, including AI and all hardware components rather than a car itself. For this development, Honda and FCA are partnering to play a supportive role. While Baidu has developed Apollo driverless cars an open-source platform for self-driving cars with SAE Level 4 automation partnering more than 50 companies and universities across the globe.
NVIDIA is contribution largely in developing AI solutions for autonomous vehicles development. NVIDIA’s automotive platforms like Drive PX, Drive PX2, and DGX-1 have helped the automotive giants like Volkswagen, Volvo, Toyota, and Tesla, Audi etc. to design and develop fully autonomous vehicles. Moreover NVIDIA’s AI assistant named ‘AI Co-Pilot’ is helping in tracking the vehicle surrounding environment for safer and reliable driving experience. General Motors with the help of NVIDIA has developed their first ever cognitive mobility platform named ‘OnStar Go’ which has the capability to track the surrounding environment and interact with the driver.
Similarly, IMB Watson has collaborated with General Motors, Volkswagen, BMW to manufacture AI-featured autonomous vehicles using IBM Watson’s Bluemix cloud platform.
Intel’s automotive services like ‘Intel GO’ automotive driving platform and Intel Go automotive 5G platform is being used by various car manufacturers including Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Fiat etc. With the help of Intel’s software platforms, OEMs and Tier-1 suppliers are developing Level 3 and Level 4 autonomous vehicles and necessary automotive components.
High Mobility, an AI startup has collaborated with BMW, IVECO, and Mercedes-Benz to deliver AI-featured autonomous vehicles in upcoming years. Porsche along with High Mobility has announced to launch an open platform for digital development in February 2018.
Also the global supply chains are relying on automation, robots and AI to reduce monotonous processing and human efforts, lower cost and boost innovation. With the help of robots and AI technology, suppliers are now able to deliver the products within less time and high frequency thereby maintaining the transparency.
As the automotive industry is changing with the introduction of artificial intelligence technology, OEMs and Tier-1 companies will need to partner with technology specialist to sustain in the era of the software featured intelligent car. While designing these vehicles, prime factors like comfort, safety, convenience will need to be taken into consideration. That time is not so far when we’ll see a driverless car taking her owner on a road trip. Let’s hope to see an AI-featured fully autonomous vehicles driving on road in coming years.
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