Serendipity only comes to the prepared. I reported yesterday about spotting an autonomous car that I thought is operated by Baidu, only to get into a discussion in the Reddit-forum about autonomous cars, suggesting it could be from NVIDIA driveworks, due to their collaboration on that topic.
And then I do my regular leisurely bike ride, when I notice something strange on the parking lot of a just recently finished office building. Not only was there an open storage container housing a desk with chairs and computers inside, but also a golf cart and a black vehicle with open trunk and doors. I was already past this scene when something hit the corner of my eye. I came to a screeching halt, turn around on the spot, and peeked around the corner. And there it was: an autonomous car. So I went ahead and took the following pictures:
One car is a Lincoln MKZ with a number of sensors mounted, starting wiht a big fat Lidar on the roof, several cameras, some of them scotch taped to the vehicle, some LED lamps, radars and so on. And then there was the golf cart that also had a camera system mounted.
As it turns out the company is AutoX, which will be moving into the new office building on 441 W Trimble Road in San Jose. Today the company operates 5 vehicles, that are already collecting data driving around in the neighborhood. The golf cart is only being used on closed tracks and lots.
This young startup tries to accomplish with cheap cameras where others put tens of thousands of dollars into sensors. Full autonomy that is. But if the fact that all those cars spotted are using Lidars and other sensors is a hint that they moved away from the puristic cameras-only-approach, is something beyond my knowledge. We’ll see.
This article has also been published in German.