The autonomous or self-driving vehicles are yet to pave its way to reality. The important reason behind this is the unclear amount of revenue and profit it could yield due to its high research and development cost.
At a time when the autonomous vehicles are on a pendulum swing without taking a side, the pandemic broke out and turned the whole structure upside down. The busy humans who are focused on the developing sector started looking back at the past viral outbreaks to find and improve the medical infrastructure for the humankind to survive the situation.
High commands like leaders, policymakers and the government officials are facing distress to wind up the economic and political chaos that the pandemic has caused. They are looking for ways to safeguard the devastated population and guide the people to a future. The future with an undisturbed vision.
The clever way to handle this is to not stop improving technology but at the same time not infusing too much revenue in it. It is important to keep a track on the development of autonomous vehicles despite the devastated economy and health crisis.
Both big and small companies are at a state where it is hard to re-image the development. But the quick solution could be looking back at the previous inventions and bringing the best out of it to fill the gap. By working backwards, the companies could resume the mobility of funds and identify a new application, people and industry it could positively impact.
A few who took revisiting seriously
Disinfectant at shuttle vehicles: A survey by NetQuote.com, an online insurance aggregator in May 2019 revealed that taxis were 160 times germier than the toilet seat, and ride-hailing vehicles measured 219 times germier than the taxis. This brings us to the reality of a pandemic driven situation and the ways to reduce it.
Michigan-based supplier GHSP revisited its Ultraviolet Angel technology and found an immediate opportunity to maintain bio-safety. Grenlite, a GHSP product, employs germicidal that destroys nucleic acids to stop the reproductive cycle of microorganisms and pathogens. The high-and-low dose ultraviolet-C light senses the passengers in a shared vehicle space and disinfects the air and high-touch surfaces, reducing COVID-19 and other disease-causing germs.
GHSP received a PlanetM COVID-19 Mobility Grant from the State of Michigan’s new Office of Future Mobility and Electrification.
GHSP is now partnered with May Mobility, an autonomous vehicle shuttle service provider in Michigan to disinfect the long run vehicles on service. People are more confident to take the mode of transport as it concerns the passenger’s safety.
Large-area autonomous disinfecting robotic vehicle (LaaD): New Hudson-based Pratt & Miller was awarded US$50,000 by Michigan grant program to kick start its mission to re-engineer its autonomous passenger vehicle technology to deploy the first large-area autonomous disinfecting robotic vehicle (LaaD) in the U.S. LaaD is intended to spray disinfecting material with an electrostatic component, allowing the material to cling to surfaces more powerfully. Using sensors and data, the autonomous robot can monitor coverage of the spray.
The company is currently working to enrol LaaD at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids to disinfect the environment and keep the people under a safe circumstance in arrival and departure.
Temperature scanner at large gatherings: Adasky, an Israel-based startup that focuses mostly on developing automotive robots has looked back its previous inventions and come up with the thermal imaging camera technology for the autonomous vehicle industry. The technology would scan and take the body temperature of people at large gatherings which will help identify the coronavirus suspects. The move not just helps the society, but also aids the company during an economically unstable situation.
Self-driving robot for delivery service: Nuro, a Silicon-Valley-based autonomous vehicle startup is contributing its Electric Nuro R2 delivery bots, a self-driving delivery robot to contradict the spread of coronavirus.
Electric Nuro R2 delivery bots are a fully autonomous, on-road vehicle designed to transport goods quickly, safely, and affordably. Earlier, it was only focusing on a few select retail customers. But now, the usage of Nuro’s vehicle has grown by 300% as national retail chains including Walmart, Kroger and Domino’s Pizza are using the robots to keep away the virus through contactless robot delivery system.
The delivery robots have now set its foot at the medical delivery service with Nuro launching a pilot in suburban Houston to deliver prescriptions and other medical items ordered online.
Robot-dog for conversation: Boston Dynamics, an autonomous robot making company is contributing to the pandemic through its autonomous robot-dog named Spot to help protect healthcare workers from the coronavirus. The four-legged robot is being put to use at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts during the coronavirus pandemic.
With the help of an iPad and two-way radio on the robot, healthcare workers video conference with patients and remotely control Spot as the robot dog walks through rooms with infected or potentially infected patients.
The pandemic has brought a lot of negative impacts on society and the developing sector. But in a way, it has made people think and rework on the existing ideas to make the situation better. With all the redevelopments contributing to autonomous vehicle improvement, the technology world could soon expect a positive outcome.
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