X-Matik's LaneCruise Kit Brings Self-Driving Tech to Older Cars
【Summary】Toronto-based start-up X-Matik has developed an aftermarket add-on kit which bring autonomous driving capabilities to older vehicles.
Toronto-based start-up X-Matik has developed an aftermarket add-on kit which bring autonomous driving capabilities to older vehicles. The company's LaneCruise kit is designed to give any old car self-driving capabilities.
The hardware in the kit consists of five main parts: the Brainbox central processing unit (CPU), a front-facing camera, touchscreen user interface module, and actuators for the steering wheel, brake pedal and gas pedal.
Unlike Tesla's Autopilot which uses radar to detect objects around the vehicle, the LaneCruise system utilizes forward-facing cameras that are mounted under the rear-view mirror. The cameras can be integrated with the touch-screen to display what they're seeing, while the Brainbox installed under the driver's seat processes the information and sends control inputs to the steering wheel and pedals.
These control inputs are calculated by two software systems simultaneously. The first system is purely learning-based and makes control inputs to the vehicle based on human driving behaviors, while the second system uses a traditional segmentation method similar to what Tesla and many others use to differentiate between the various objects that are detected by LaneCruise. The system reads lane markings or tire tracks in snow, other vehicles or pedestrians, or other features that indicate the road's path, to help make these inputs.
X-Matik says that LaneCruise can also be used for hands-free highway driving and in stop/start bumper-to-bumper traffic and it will maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front to ensure that it can stop in time in the event of an emergency.
LaneCruise does have some limitations, it will not work at empty intersections, nor can it be used for navigational purposes or on completely unmarked roads. The lane-changing capability is reserved for only in the mass-market version. In these situations, the driver is ultimately liable for anything that happens while LaneCruise is in control because, like Tesla's Autopilot, the system is intended to be a Level 2-3 autonomous system and doesn't provide fully-autonomous driving capabilities.
X-Matik claims that LaneCruise is truly universal and can be fitted to just about any car, with adjustable mounting options for the cameras and touchscreen interface as well as adjustable clamps for the various actuators. The company says the system has been successfully fitted to a Honda Civic, Honda Accord, Subaru Forester and Subaru Impreza, with verification of compatibility with up to 20 different vehicles through space fits and simulations.
The company will also provide in-person support for the one-hour fitment process for Southern Ontario customers during beta testing. To ensure customers receive ongoing support for LaneCruise after its market launch, X-Matik says it will be using an online course to train local mechanics around North America on how to fit and maintain the LaneCruise system.
X-Matik plans to release LaneCruise in stages, with a beta program to be conducted in Ontario in early 2018 that will be followed by a limited public release for early adopters later that year.
Availability for the general public is slated for the spring of 2019. Pricing details for the final system are yet to be decided, but the Beta version will retail for around US$1,500-2,000, and there are also plans for an option to lease LaneCruise for a US$150 monthly fee until the system is paid off after its full launch.
Originally from New Jersey, Eric is an automotive and technology reporter specializing in the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley. Eric has over fifteen years of automotive experience and a B.A. in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the automotive industry and beyond. He has worked on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology. Outside of work, Eric likes to travel to new places, play guitar, and explore the outdoors.
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