Published on March 25th, 2017 | by Kyle Field0
“Professor X” Aims To Disrupt Autonomous Vehicle Tech With Silicon Valley Startup AutoX
March 25th, 2017 by Kyle Field
Some people just aren’t satisfied with the safe route in life and can’t help but to unleash their passions on the world in the form of disruptive new approaches to existing or emerging markets.
Dr. Jianxiong Xioa — also known to students and staff as “Professor X” — has ditched his lucrative job as a Princeton professor to pour his passion into a new autonomous vehicle technology startup dubbed AutoX.
AutoX was founded on the premise that autonomous vehicle technology should not be an elite system that few can afford — rather, it should be a technology that anyone can afford and that will improve lives around the world as a result. The company mission statement sums it up in the following statement:
“AutoX is a team of world-class researchers and engineers creating disruptive A.I. technology for autonomous vehicles. We invented a camera-first self-driving solution that amounts to only a tiny fraction of the cost of traditional LiDar-based approaches. We believe that autonomous driving should not be a luxury, and we are making it universally available to every citizen.”
As stated, the revolution being delivered by AutoX centers around the use of cameras as the primary sensors feeding the autonomous driving solution. This drives a sharp reduction in cost compared to most autonomous vehicle solution sets, which rely heavily on expensive LIDAR, radar, ultrasonic, and GPS sensors.
Cutting out these expensive sensors lowers the cost of the required hardware and allows the company to keep the solution cost low.
The natural question to ask is, why haven’t other manufacturers taken this approach? Are cameras inferior? What are the tradeoffs? The team at AutoX believes that it has a distinct advantage in computer vision technology, which has allowed it to move so quickly from concept to prototype solution — in just 6 months — and that it is this core competency that sets AutoX apart.
While the cameras powering the AutoX solution were literally purchased off the shelf at a Best Buy store for around $50 each, the team does have plans to integrate feeds from more advanced sensors like LIDAR and ultrasonics in future builds to further improve the solution. The focus for the company is to move quickly to develop the lowest-cost, highest-accuracy system in order to bring the benefits of autonomous driving to the masses as quickly as possible.
AutoX has already gained approval from the California DMV as an autonomous vehicle (AV) testing company and has taken to the streets with its solution to run it through the vetting process in real-world scenarios.
Looking forward, AutoX is looking to develop a fleet of autonomous vehicles that will allow the team to pull in more data and further refine the solution. Ultimately, the former professor wants to partner up with auto manufacturers directly in the interest of leveraging their scale to drive the cost of the solution down and the positive impacts it can deliver to the world up to the next level.