Self-driving cars are said to be the future of the automobile industry. Major car companies as well as organisations like Google and Apple are carrying out extensive research on autonomous or driver-less cars. There is no doubt that these cars will be nothing less than a boon to those who cannot drive.
In India, too, there is someone who has invested a lot of time in this area. And his results look promising.
Meet Dr. Roshy John, Head of Robotics and Cognitive Systems at Tata Consultancy Services in Kochi.
Photo source: Facebook
A couple of years ago, Roshy began to think of building a self-driving car after an unnerving taxi ride home from the airport. While sitting in the cab, he saw the taxi driver dozing off behind the wheel. Roshy had to take over and drive the cab the rest of the way. This incident inspired him to make an autonomous car.
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After inspecting many cars, Roshy chose a Tata Nano for the project because it had the engine at the rear. This was necessary so he could add actuators and sensors to the front portion of the car.
Roshy, and a team of engineers who helped him throughout the process, first did a virtual simulation of the car to figure out if the plan would work. After the simulation checked out, the team bought a Tata Nano. It was totally stripped down. Cameras and sensors were added to it. The team also created automatic gear shifting equipment. And finally, real-time tests were carried out. After five years of testing, the team claims it has created a modular system that could be fitted on to any vehicle available in under an hour, to make it autonomous.
“I am proud to say that this is Made in India,” Roshy said to DNA.