Scientists and researchers from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and IT major Wipro Ltd have joined hands to create a driverless car for Indian conditions with a targeted rollout date of March 2020.
The nearly one-year collaboration project is to build an autonomous car for Indian conditions is an extension of a nearly three-year effort at Wipro using data for roads in Europe and the US.
“We are working on some cutting-edge algorithms for Indian conditions. Earlier whatever we worked on was user data from Europe and America but we want to do something for India. We cannot use the systems that we built for the other data sets because the conditions here are unique,’’ The Indian Express quoted Dr Ramachandra Budihal, Wipro’s head for AI, autonomous systems and robotics, who is based on the IISc campus with a team of 18 engineers to build the car, as saying.
Dr Ramachandra Budihal said that it is a greenfield design and everything has been designed from scratch.
“We are not taking a Toyota or a Honda and retrofitting. We are designing our own electric vehicle and then putting all the systems inside. It is a concept autonomous vehicle,” he added.
Key investigators in the initiative, Prof A G Ramakrishnan from the department of electrical engineering at IISc said if we have an autonomous vehicle in India with conditions like-- humans, cycles, autos going--it has to take care of all these factors, plus the zero infrastructure, the potholes and the fact that everything is random.
Professors from six IISc departments that includes aerospace engineering, electrical engineering, electrical communication engineering, electronic systems engineering, electronic design and technology, computer science and automation are involved in the project, The Indian Express reported.
Over the past six months, investigators have been using a car equipped with multiple sensors to collect raw data on aspects of navigating the roads in Bengaluru and have culled out around 100 hours of data, out of nearly 1000 hours collected, to build algorithms and systems for the driverless car.
The plan is to have about 28 sensors on the autonomous car.
According to the scientists, the key challenge in building a driverless car for Indian road conditions is the amount of processing power that will be needed for the car to process the enormous amount of data coming in from the road environment.
“I was telling Mr Premji (the Wipro Ltd chairman) that last year we felt that even a super computer in the car may fall short of processing power for the amount of data needed for an autonomous vehicle in India,’’ said Budihal.
“I cannot afford to put a high-power computing system on an electric vehicle because the power needed to power the computer would be more than the power needed to drive the car and this would not be feasible. That is why we are looking at low power compute designs using a new technology that has come called neuro morphic computing,’’ he added.
Wipro will invest Rs 9.6 crore in collaborative research in cutting edge technology areas like “artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer vision, and human machine interaction, related to autonomous systems and robotics.”