How about Retrofitting your Brains in a Car
While major automotive giants are fixed on building the utopian self-driving car capable of carrying out the entire driving task for particular environments such as towns and cities without any driver intervention, the concept of retrofit kits has taken a hike. By definition, these kits add self-driving capabilities to existing vehicles. Retrofitting has gradually become one of the fastest growing segments in the autonomous space. Most of this growth can be attributed to the fact that retrofitting kits like Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS), have much more immediate utility. Some recent developments including the $50m funding of Drive.ai, a self-driving tech startup, and Uber’s recent acquisition of Otto, the autonomous truck startup — both working on the retrofit model, have escalated the proposition of retrofitting. Although currently retrofit kits are more suited to fleet vehicles, it is very likely that we will see consumer focused kits as well. The ease of integrating these into existing vehicles will be one the key factors when developing kits for the mass market.
A full-fledged driverless future is still a while away. But the retrofitting model can provide autonomous industry the push it needs to transition into a completely autonomous world. The future of autonomous driving is directly tie to the performance of these retrofit kits. Think of it as the first step.