A group of students has developed an autonomous shuttle that can cart students to and from classes 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Developed by IIT-Kharagpur’s Robotics Research Group, some of the founding members of which are part of the Y-Combinator incubator the Auro Robotics vehicles will reduce on-campus operating costs by between 40 and 60 per cent.
The passengers onboard can input the details of their destination into the touchscreen of the electric vehicle or via an app on their smartphone and the shuttle will instantly start on their journey around the area to drop the students off.
The software behind the shuttles works out the best and safest route for the passengers, intelligently calculating its way around the roads of the campus to ensure those onboard don’t miss their classes and it doesn’t run into crowds of students on foot, bad weather or other vehicles.
“The shuttle can be used 24×7 and in all weather conditions,” a statement by the research group said. “No special rails or dedicated pathways are required for its operation. The vehicle is equipped with lasers, camera, radar and GPS. The shuttles rely on a prior 3D map of the environment. It uses this 3D map to localise itself and interpret road topography.”
Auro Robotics is trying to change the reputation of driverless and electric vehicles to be something useful, rather than simply showing off what the technology can do. The company hopes its tech will be used to replace other vehicles used to cart passengers around short distance locations, such as golf courses, airports, company campuses or large industrial sites.
The company received seed funding from IIT Kharagpur in 2014 and then further income from DSIR at the Government of India for development and commercialisation of the technology used in the shuttles.