Prototype Zero

Prototype Zero (P0) is nearing completion! This is our first internal test platform. We are pretty excited about it and are also having some fun with a quirky design :-) This is how it looks on a cad model

Prototype Zero

And this is how the chassis looks for real

P0 Chassis

The initial idea was to go without a body since we would anyways be making lot of changes to this. However, we realized there is going to be just one copy and we want to test it out in the elements. Test it in various times of the day, rain and heat. Hence, some protection was needed from the dust, weather and possibly rats. With a closed body, we added some airflow also to make sure that heat is not trapped inside.

Meanwhile, our motors are chugging (whirring?) inside the lab and the controller is being tuned on them. Prototype Zero doesn’t integrate our custom motor and battery which are both on a parallel development track leading to Prototype One. We will be using electric motors and battery from vendors in this case.

The cameras, Lidar, IMU and the GPS have been integrated on the Nvidia TX2 board. We are crazy about performance though and a lot of work remains on that side. We switch from python to C seamlessly as per what the need is. Or some Go for good measure where appropriate. The other big piece for us is our transfer learning platform. P0 will also be a good test for how the learning in our simulator will perform in the real world.

The P0 will run on real roads inside the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (where we also partner for some of our research). Below is a candidate stretch that looked reasonably complicated. It is 630 meters long. What you see below is a simulation of the road view of the same. It combines real videos of the path with Google Maps data.

Candidate test course at IISc

The various teams at Ati will find their work integrated on a real vehicle for the first time — vehicle engineering, electronics hardware (5 custom PCBs on P0!), firmware, sensor fusion, motion planner and control and perception. Can’t wait to see it come together!

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