The Z Pod, designed as a fully autonomous car, lacks a steering wheel and navigates through traffic using cameras and AI algorithms.
Minus Zero, a Bengaluru-based self-driving firm, has unveiled its ‘Z Pod’ all-electric autonomous self-driving car prototype. The prototype car can accommodate four passengers in opposing seating.
The Z Pod, designed as a fully autonomous car, lacks a steering wheel and navigates through traffic using cameras and AI algorithms. The Z Pod does not use LIDAR, but instead has six cameras (three in front and three in back).
The business says that the complexity of self-driving cars can be handled not by adding more sensors or petabytes of data, but by making AI more intuitive through what it calls ‘True Vision Autonomy.’
Minus Zero claims that the zPod is only a technological demonstration of what it is attempting to achieve, and that its goals are to minimise traffic congestion, as well as road accidents and the injuries and fatalities that result from them. Unlike many self-driving cars, the zPod does not use LIDAR (light detection and ranging), but rather an array of six cameras – four on the sides and two in the front and back.
The company also demonstrated its True Vision Autonomy idea, which navigates obstacles using the aforementioned cameras as sensors. According to Minus Zero, the concept may be used to any existing vehicle form factor, including EVs and ICE. According to the business, its autonomous driving technology may be adapted to existing vehicles on the road, as long as they include an engine control module.
Minus Zero says that its new AI, Nature Inspired AI (NIA), will tackle a few critical challenges encountered during the development of autonomous vehicles. These issues include costly gear, the need for significant data, navigating through difficult traffic circumstances, and unruly infrastructure. According to Minus Zero, the existing AI development paradigm is prone to failure in settings it has not been educated in, and it will use physics-aware vision and predictive decision-making like a human brain.
About Minus zero zPOD Concept
The zPod, as previously said, is an autonomous vehicle that can travel in every geographical and environmental condition thanks to its camera suite. Minus Zero claims that its AI technology can scale up to autonomous level 5 (no human intervention while driving in real-world settings).
The zPod is a four-seater electric vehicle with seats facing each other that lacks the controls and layout of a traditional car. The AI does all of the driving, and it evaluates all of the data from the images acquired by the cameras in real-time to make an intelligent judgement. According to Minus Zero, the use of the camera suite will assist reduce expenditures.
According to the company, the zPod and its AI technology will be confined to in-campus mobility – movement within the bounds of a geo-fence, away from public roadways – in the foreseeable future. The zPod can be employed in a variety of settings, including educational campuses, residential neighbourhoods, and technology parks.
Interestingly, Minus Zero claims that it has no plans to put the zPod into production and that it was only a demonstration of the AI-based autonomous driving technology that it has developed. The company also claims that the zPod can inspire automakers to experiment with non-driver-centric car design.