Born to Drive turns cars into self-delivering vehicles
Self-driving cars aren't quite the novelty they once were, but what about self-delivering cars? That's the question that Swedish technology firm Semcon is trying to answer with the Born to Drive project. It uses new software to take existing cars and turn them into self-drive vehicles that can steer themselves off the assembly line and through the transportation chain without a human driver.
When you buy a new car, you have the satisfaction as you get behind the wheel that you're the first person who's ever driven it. Except for the person who drove it off the production line. And the one who drove it to the shipping lot. And the one who drove it on the lorry. And the one who drove it off. And…
You get the idea. In all, about 25 other people have driven your car before you were "first" as it went down the line from factory to dealership. With 80 million vehicles a year being built, that's a lot of people driving a lot of cars, which costs a lot of money.
Still in the prototype stage, Born to Drive augments the driver assist systems and sensors found in modern cars without additional hardware, as a way of cutting down the number of times a car must be driven manually once it leaves the factory. Currently, the software can steer cars from the production line to a collection point, but the hope is that it will soon be able to handle more complex maneuvers while controlling and tracking the entire logistics flow of the vehicles. The company says it will even be able to tell if the fuel tank needs topping up.
Born to Drive is a collaborative project between technology companies, government agencies, component manufacturers and Volvo Cars, with Semcon having overall technical responsibility for the development of control algorithms, and vehicle positioning and communication with the traffic routing system.
"What makes Born to Drive unique is that it is entirely a software solution," says Johan Isacson, Project Manager for Born to Drive. "This makes the system both cost-efficient and scalable. Since there is already a working prototype, the system could be implemented within just a few years."
The video below shows a demonstration of the technology.