Autonomous Solutions Inc. provides technology to make just about any vehicle self-driving, and it has worked well with partners on getting funding and serving the law-enforcement market. In addition, ASI is working on both off-road and automotive applications for its autonomous systems, according to CEO Mel Torrie.
Farm progress with robotics
Autonomous Solutions has worked with London-based CNH Industrial on concept autonomous tractors, which they unveiled at the Farm Progress Show this month in Boone, Iowa. The driverless tractors are expected to improve precision and productivity for planting and harvesting crops.
“We’re thrilled to be working with the leaders in [agricultural] innovation to make this exciting future of driverless tractors a reality,” Torrie said. “CNH Industrial’s selection of ASI as a long-term, strategic robotic development provider validates the capability and flexibility of our robotics platform in reducing the risk and costs for equipment manufacturers to bring advanced capabilities to their respective industries.”
“ASI is the industry-leading developer of autonomous solutions in the off-road vehicle segment and the natural choice to be one of CNH Industrial’s key technology providers,” said Richard Tobin, CEO of CNH.
Driverless vehicles require trust
Autonomous systems require a combination of sensors and software to be safe to operate around people. Even with improving technology, self-driving cars and trucks can’t always account for unpredictable human behavior.
“One of the scariest things we’ve discovered is that people trust the technology blindly after seeing it drive only a short time. They do crazy things that jeopardize their safety,” Torrie said. “They stop monitoring, ignore, and even taunt [a robot; they’ll] jump in front of it to show friends that it sees them. It is a very dangerous situation.”
“Do I trust them? Yes,” he said, in reference to autonomous systems. “But I wouldn’t put people in harm’s way to test them, and I would call it a healthy level of respect.”
“The automotive industry is continuing improve the sensor quality and reduce the price. Lidar and radar sensors are soon going to be under $1,000, which is really going to accelerate the growth of this industry,” he said. “Computer speeds are increasing, enabling better algorithms. We have been able to develop indoor positioning solutions that don’t need infrastructure like magnets in the floor or laser reflectors.”
“We can now field indoor applications at a fraction of the cost of legacy systems in applications like factory AGVs [automated guided vehicles] and floor-cleaning robots,” he said.
“We automate durability testing for three of the Big 5 Detroit automotive companies and two from Asia,” Torrie said. “We provide automation kits and the software to manage multiple vehicles from a command center — here, one person can manage five vehicles.”
More on Autonomous Systems:
- ‘Disruptive Innovation’ Inspires Blue Workforce’s Ragnar Robot
- New Zealand Farming, Healthcare Robots Lead the Way to Commercialization
- Nvidia and Baidu, Uber and Volvo Couple Up on the Highway to the Future
- Autonomous Vehicles Get Clearer Vision as 5D Robotics Buys Time Domain
- Service, Logistics Robotics Grow at the Pace of E-Commerce
- InVia Robotics Promises Easier Automated Materials Handling
- Research Report: Self-Driving Vehicles Just Up the Road
- How Will Robot Store Clerks Disrupt Retail?
My favorite robot
“This is my favourite robot because it is one of the most mobile robots because of its ability to walk on its walking tracks,” Torrie told Robotics Business Review. “Another reason is that it started as a Lego design in my basement 18 years ago. It continues to be our most requested robot, but we need to find an approach to get the cost down.”
Editor’s note: Autonomous Solutions Inc. is an RBR50 company and is among the exhibitors at RoboBusiness next week in San Jose, Calif. Visit Booth 321 on Sept. 28 and 29, 2016.