World’s First Commercially Available Self-Driving Car Launches
Companies like Google have been toying with the concept of self-driving cars for years, but France-based robotics company Induct announced on Monday that its intelligent, electric and driverless vehicle is now available in the U.S.
The Navia shuttle — which can carry up to eight passengers — launched on Monday at the 2014 International CES show in Las Vegas, making it the world’s first commercially available self-driving vehicle.
The car will most likely be used at public places such as airports, college campuses, theme parks or sports arenas to eliminate pollution and congestion, rather than for home use. Navia costs about $250,000, which is about 40% less than the cost for operating a similar shuttle with a driver.
“Navia is different than other driverless vehicles out there because it is intelligent, self-sufficient and environmentally friendly,” a company rep told Mashable. “Users can summon Navia from their smartphones like an Uber for driverless cars or call it up from their desktop.”
After boarding the shuttle, passengers use a touchscreen to select where they want to go. The shuttle also doesn’t need a special infrastructure such as rails or a designated path, so it can travel anywhere.
The vehicle, which doesn’t go faster than 12.5 mph, uses onboard lasers and sensors to detect obstacles in its path, so it doesn’t rely on GPS to get from one point to another. The vehicle also uses different camera viewpoints to allow depth mapping and 3D perception to make sure it steers clear of pedestrians and other roadside objects.
“Navia can operate in any environment, with the necessary authorizations from local city, state and national authorities,” the spokesperson said. “We’ve already worked with several beta testers to enable the use of Navia at their locations with little issue.”
It’s currently deployed in beta version at a technical college in Switzerland (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) and a high-security industry park run by the United Kingdom Atomic energy Authority.
For information about how to purchase the Navia shuttle, contact the company here.