There are startups that you admire, startups where you barely shrug your shoulders, and then there are those that you simply need to love for what they are doing. Latter one is Santa Clara-based Voyage, barely over a year old focusing on the development of robotaxis. The company is currently testing their vehicles with retirees and help them lead a more active social life.
The first generation of cars were based on the Ford Fusion platform, but the second generation now introduces Fiat-Chrysler Pacifica minivans, the same that Google’s sister company Waymo is using. Those vehicles are better suited for the passengers in autonomous robotaxis, as they are more spacious and taller.
But that are not all the news. Voyage entered a partnership with the car rental company Enterprise that can help the startup scale faster. Instead of having a small startup purchase hundreds or even thousands of cars, equip them, and manage that fleet, this partnership combines the strengths of both companies.
The minivans were equipped with the brand new Velodyne VLS 128-Lidars and Voyage-technology (parts of which the company already open sourced). The lidars have 128 channels with a 360 degree view and 300 meters of range that allow to build a 3D map of the environment. In the blink of an eye the lidar shots out five million datapoints. Voyage is one of the first customers using that new powerful lidar.
The vehicles are operating in two locations, one gated community for retirees named The Villages in San Jose in Californian, and a similarly named gated community in Florida.
More about the next generation vehicles can be found on Voyage-CEO Oliver Cameron’s blog.
This article has also been posted in German.