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AI-based self-driving tech startup Minus Zero unveils India’s first fully autonomous vehicle

Minus Zero

The artificial intelligence (AI) start-up Minus Zero from Bengaluru has showcased what it calls the country’s first autonomous vehicle. The totally electric prototype known as zPod, which is based on a camera-sensor suite, can operate in all types of environmental and geographic conditions and scale up to Level 5 autonomy capabilities, according to the company. The greatest level of autonomous driving, known as level 5 autonomy, refers to a vehicle’s full capacity to operate without human intervention in all traffic situations and surroundings.

Minus Zero, which was established in 2021 by Gagandeep Reehal and Gursimran Kalra, has raised $1.7 million in seed funding from a number of investors, including Chiratae Ventures, Snow Leopard Ventures, IIT Mandi, and other angel investors from the autonomous vehicle sector.

The primary sensory system of zPod, which lacks a steering wheel, is a network of strategically placed high-resolution cameras. These cameras take photos of the vehicle’s surroundings in real time and send them to the AI system. This data is processed by the AI to make intelligent decisions about navigation, speed control, and obstacle avoidance. According to the business, this camera-based technique makes the zPod a more cheap autonomous vehicle than competitors that rely on pricey sensor arrays.

Minus Zero

In-campus mobility, which refers to the transportation of individuals within the bounds of a specified campus or controlled environment, such as a tech park, university campus, corporate campus, or any institution with a defined area, is the zPod’s near-term use case. The startup also intends to provide technology to aid OEMs in improving their advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS).

According to the founders, zPod is merely a vehicle designed to display the company’s AI-based autonomous vehicle technology, and it has no plans to construct vehicles. “We are not an OEM, and we have no plans to build cars.” It is a vehicle designed to demonstrate the system we have created.

The startup will concentrate on further developing its patented technologies, Nature Inspired AI (NIA) and True Vision Autonomy (TVA), in order to explore numerous avenues for expansion, including collaborations with OEMs.

Unlike standard AI, nature-inspired AI is a method for creating generalised autonomous agents that are inspired by physics-aware vision and the predictive decision-making skills of the human brain. According to the business, the nature-inspired algorithm will provide real-time low-power processing, adaptability to unpredictable or chaotic real-road situations, and assist eliminate the need to re-learn driving for different use cases, locations, or vehicles. TVA is a vehicle-agnostic technology, which means it can adapt to any use case and vehicle form factor, and it depends solely on cameras as its sensor suite, assisting the vehicle.