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Navia is the first commercially available driverless vehicle

French company Induct makes it slowly but surely
Tue Jan 07 2014, 17:20

FRENCH VEHICLE DESIGNER Induct has revealed the first commercially available driverless people mover.

The Navia vehicle is capable of traveling at 12.5mph powered by an electric motor. It navigates unaided after receiving instructions from passengers on a touchscreen. When it is running low on battery power it self-awarely takes itself to a charging station and plugs itself in.

The present design is not permitted to travel on public roads, however Induct has been keen to roll out and hone the technology on private enclosed areas such as university campuses and hospital grounds.

As well as having navigational capabilities, the vehicle can be trained by taking it on a tour of its new home during which it learns optimum routes and obstacles.

Along with standard GPS, it has four Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) units that scan the surrounding area up to 200 metres in each direction to gain a full picture of the landscape and hopefully avoid any pedestrians that get in its path.

The LIDAR units are flanked by two cameras at slightly different viewpoints that create depth perception. The combined result, shown in the video below, is known by Induct as Simultaneous Localization and Mapping & Multi Object Tracking (SLAM MOT).

"Public transport is not enough on its own. We have to think of ways of getting around that are accessible and near at hand. The aim is to improve mobility by thinking beyond traditional layouts and the private car," said Induct CEO Pierre Lefèvre.

Other potential uses for the Navia include factory complexes and most intriguingly theme parks. We can see The Walt Disney Company buying a fleet and adding mouse ears already. µ


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