Drive.ai, a startup founded by half a dozen alumni from the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab demonstrated for the first time an autonomous drive, and that in rainy conditions. Rain, snow, dust, and similar conditions that bring objects into the air, pose special challenges for sensors. Rain drops and mist distort reflected sensor signals and can make it difficult to get an accurate estimate of objects in the vicinity.
Drive.ai’s car drives downtown Mountain View – also the home and test ground for the Google-Waymo-cars – direction west on El Camino Real. Then it turns right onto San Bernardo Avenue, makes a left turn on Evelyn Avenue (you can see the Caltrain going north to San Francisco), drives under the 237, turns left on Ferry Morse Way. Then the car crosses North Whisman Road and turns first right onto East Dana Street, and then onto Pioneer Way. From there it goes along Evelyn Avenue in the opposite direction.
During the drive the car stops at traffic signals, moves to the right lanes, even lets a car passing that forgot to yield, and pays attention to bicyclists. The car in use seems to be a Lincoln, which we may already have seen here.
Drive.aiwas founded in March 2016 by multiple PhDs for Artificial Intelligence and raised in a first venture round 12 million Dollars. The startup plans to offer software and hardware kits that automakers can install and gives them AI and machine learning capabilities for autonomous cars.
The fact that the founding team is composed of AI experts shows the shift in the requirements for the automotive industry. As we’ve seen hundred years ago with the shift from horse carriages to cars, the backgrounds of the automotive pioneers were totally different from carriage makers and horse breeders. Today, not the ‘metal benders’ are in demand, but digital experts.
This article was also published in German.