Otto, a startup staffed by veterans of Google and Tesla, have announced an alternative route for designing autonomous vehicles.
The company created a $30,000 kit that can grant any commercial semi-truck manufactured since 2013 autonomous driving capabilities.
Elements of this kit include extra cameras, radar, and LIDaR sensors, which Wired noted is a common combination of technology found in advanced, autonomous vehicles. Power steering and redundant braking systems are part of the package along with a customized computer that serves as the brains of the operation assisting the driver with real-time decisions.
The system will utilize detailed mapping data to determine a safe location to pull over if a driver isn’t responding, for example.
Some of the features this kit enables include having the truck maintain a pre-determined speed, safely stay within one lane, and slow or stop when necessary while driving down highways, added Wired. The company told the publication it ran test trials for two vehicles infused with its technology in California over the weekend that required minimal human intervention.
Otto will offer customers its technology, “as an upgrade that a long-haul truck owner could purchase, or perhaps as a service a trucking operator could subscribe to,” reported The New York Times.
Fortune explained Otto’s technology could make the long-haul trucking industry safer and help with labor shortages, because this sector has struggled to recruit new employees to meet demand and replace aging drivers. Installing this technology into existing vehicles could also be more cost-effective instead of building a completely new self-driving car too.
Watch Otto’s announcement video below.
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