Stanford startup Drive.ai will give autonomous vehicles communication skills

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A new company that was founded in 2015 with a team of learning experts from Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) lab in California has introduced its technology and strategy for the first time, with the claim that it is opening a new chapter in the era of self-driving transportation.

Drive.ai says it is using its unrivaled AI expertise to build the software necessary to power autonomous vehicles of the future. The company has revealed that its strategy completely re-imagines existing approaches to self-driving using a full stack deep learning approach. Drive.ai’s integrated software and hardware system will enable vehicles to safely navigate any driving environment, including urban, suburban and freeway, while communicating clearly with users, other drivers, and people outside the vehicle. Building on this technical foundation, Drive.ai aims to create a robust new language of human-robot interactions, which it says is essential for making people trust and welcome self-driving vehicles.

Drive.ai’s product offering will consist of a retrofitted self-driving kit for existing business fleets, which will include sensors, a roof-mounted exterior communication system, and an in-car interface, all powered by deep learning software algorithms. The company’s initial market approach will focus on proving the technology with route-based vehicle fleets, in industries such as freight delivery, ridesharing, and public/private transit. The company has existing partnerships with major OEMs and automotive suppliers, and plans to expand into other channels and partnerships in the future. To further this ambition, the company has also announced the addition of former General Motors vice-chairman Steve Girsky (left) to its board of directors. Drive.ai also notes that it is licensed to test autonomous vehicles in California.

“Deep learning is the most effective form of artificial intelligence, and the best one capable of responding intelligently to the infinite situations cars face on the roads,” explained Sameep Tandon (below), CEO and co-founder of Drive.ai. “Our founding team has been working on deep learning’s applications to self-driving vehicles since its early stages. This is truly the enabling technology for the future of autonomous transportation, and we’re leveraging it for navigation and interaction, both inside and outside vehicles.”

Carol Reiley, co-founder and president of Drive.ai, noted, “Self-driving is not just a new feature on vehicles, it’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reimagine the relationship between people, cars, and the world around them. At Drive.ai, we’re focused on building a totally new language for vehicles, enabling them to show intent and interact in complex ways with humans inside and outside the car. Vehicles of the future will communicate transparently with us, they’ll have personality, and they’ll make us feel welcome and safe, even without a human driver.”

Girsky added, “We all know that the automotive industry is in the midst of a foundational shift. The emergence of self-driving technology, and deep learning in particular, brings an incredible opportunity to save countless lives, transform the transportation landscape, and shift the way we think about cars and technology. The team at Drive.ai has the vision and expertise to lead this new era.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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