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PerceptIn Launches the DragonFly Pod: The World's First $40,000 AV

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【Summary】PerceptIn, a full-stack visual intelligence company focused on robotics, today announced the launch of its compact DragonFly Pod, a tiny autonomous vehicle (AV) priced at $40,000. According to Perceptin, the DragonFly Pod is the world's first affordable people's autonomous vehicle.

Eric Walz    Sep 12, 2018 3:18 PM PT
PerceptIn Launches the DragonFly Pod: The World's First $40,000 AV
author: Eric Walz   

While mort of the automotive industry focuses on multi-passenger shuttles or full size self-driving cars, one company is downsizing its autonomous vehicles. PerceptIn, a full-stack visual intelligence company focused on robotics, today announced the launch of its compact DragonFly Pod, a tiny autonomous vehicle (AV) priced at $40,000.

According to Perceptin, the DragonFly Pod is the world's first affordable people's autonomous vehicle. The pod bears resemblance to a golf cart, with the exception that its self-driving and operates on the road like a car.

"We believe the DragonFly is a truly disruptive technology that has the potential to transform robotics and the autonomous driving industry," said Jaeyoung Shin, the Head of Samsung Ventures China.  

Perception describes itself as a ‘visual intelligence company', building machines that see, interpret, learn and take action. The company's core technology focuses on visual intelligence in areas such as robotics and autonomous driving.

The DragonFly Pod combines patented vision-based sensor fusion with a patented modular computing system to provide a safe and reliable method of transport in low-speed environments. It uses a visual intelligence technology developed by Perceptin, including a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) module, sonar and radar.

"The barriers preventing the ubiquitous adoption of clean energy autonomous vehicles are technology reliability, safety, ethical and affordability concerns," said Jean-Luc Gaudiot, IEEE Fellow, 2017 IEEE Computer Society President and Distinguished Professor at UC Irvine. "With PerceptIn's vision intelligence technology, the DragonFly combats these challenges and has the potential to offer the benefits of a self-driving car to people globally."

The DragonFly has a top speed of 20 miles per hour, is initially designed for short trips on corporate or university campuses and other light traffic areas to transport employees or goods. The company plans to deploy vehicles suited for high-speeds in the future.

Using a smartphone app, a user can summon the autonomous DragonFly Pod to pick them up. The pod's on-board GPS choses the fastest, most efficient route then drives there autonomously. The pod makes safe driving decisions when it encounter and intersection and steers around obstacles, such as car stopped in the lane ahead.

With the launch of DragonFly, PerceptIn says its goal is to enable citizens to take back time for leisure, creativity and productivity in an increasingly demanding global information economy.

According to The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Americans spend a total of 30 billion hours per year on driving, sitting in traffic or looking for a parking space. Summoning a nearby autonomous vehicle on-demand may help people become more productive, instead of wasting time behind the wheel of a manually driven vehicle.

"At PerceptIn, we're dedicated to uncovering the potential of robotization," said Dr. Shaoshan Liu, Founder and Chairman of PerceptIn. Dr. Shaoshan formerly worked at Baidu's autonomous driving unit before starting his own company.

"To do this successfully, you have to solve for the challenge of robotic perception. Through sophisticated engineering, the robot can see and understand the world around it to know precisely where it is regardless if a GPS signal is blocked. With our engineering team's expertise in artificial intelligence, system integration, hardware engineering, and optics, PerceptIn has essentially built the 'eye' for robots and implemented our product, the DragonFly Pod."

PerceptIn has also developed a method for modularizing key components of AVs such that even individuals with a limited engineering background can easily integrate these five or six components to build their own autonomous vehicle.

"We are also committed to the task of enabling people to create AVs and not just use them. People often say that building an autonomous vehicle is just as difficult and far-fetched as building a rocket but we disagree. In fact, we've simplified the whole process to make the building of autonomous vehicles not that much different from that of building with legos."

"Our lego-like approach is more than just about encouraging people to have fun building their own AVs. When people think of AVs, they often think of cars on the road. But there are so many other applications. A farmer, for instance, can use the resources and knowledge we provide in our textbook, community and comic book style manuals on how to build his or her own autonomous machine for his farm."

PerceptIn is now selecting customers for their pilot program. The DragonFly Pod will be available for purchase in the U.S in November of 2018 for $40,000.

PerceptIn has offices in Silicon Valley and Shenzhen, China, PerceptIn serves more than 100 customers and works on providing hardware and software solutions for the robotization of the next generation of products.

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