Autonomous Vehicle

An AI android layer for all applications of autonomous driving

Telematics Wire in discussion with Gursimran Kalra, Co-founder & COO, Minus Zero; explores the motivation behind their startup in autonomous vehicles. Minus Zero is developing AI software for autonomous vehicles. Their focus is on camera-based systems inspired by the human brain.

Q. What motivated you all to launch a startup in the autonomous vehicle domain?

The driving force behind our decision to launch a startup in the autonomous vehicle domain is the profound impact we envision our product will have on people’s lives. Our motivation stems from the desire to make safe and efficient mobility accessible to everyone, saving valuable time typically spent behind the steering wheel, revolutionising safety features aimed at assisting drivers and reducing accidents. Our aim is to elevate the driving experience by offering luxurious and advanced features tailored to provide a personalised driving experience. These values continue to inspire us to diligently develop and refine our software, ensuring it consistently exceeds expectations and enriches the lives of our ultimate users.

Q. What is your aim- to make an autonomous car/truck or an autonomous vehicle

Minus Zero’s objective is to create an end-to-end autonomous driving platform capable for the entire vehicle portfolio of an OEM. Our focus lies in developing adaptable generalised software that can be used on any vehicle type, whether it’s for cars or trucks. After the development of this generalised software, it can be later specialised for purpose-built vehicles.

Q. According to data in public domain, zPod from Minus Zero has optical sensors, what made you
opt for optical sensor over the LiDAR?

Minus Zero made a deliberate choice to utilise optical sensors in the zPod to demonstrate the results that are achievable by effectively using the AI and data just from the optical sensors. We believe that optical sensors provide far richer information than any other sensors but the current AI systems lack the capability to extract this information. With Minus Zero’s Nature-inspired AI, we are able to extract the entire information stored in the optical data, thereby reducing the heavy data dependency through different sensors and making the entire system more cost & compute efficient.

Q. How would like to categorise zPod, as a technology demonstration project or stepping stone
for purpose built vehicle?

Actually, zPod lies under both categories. For us it served majorly as a technology demonstration project but it can definitely be a stepping stone for different OEMs to build purpose built vehicles on similar vision. zPod demonstrates the huge potential that AI can provide in the automotive sector to uplift the current mobility experience.

Q. Is the technology for autonomous electric zPod is developed in-house or you are making use
of any open source initiative?

While we draw inspiration from the open-source community, the technology behind our autonomous electric zPod is entirely developed in-house by our passionate team of AI researchers & engineers.

Q. Talking about IPRs, would you like to comment on this? (patents)

Regarding intellectual property rights (IPRs), we already have a patent granted and multiple more are in the pipeline. Additionally, our team is actively engaged in research, and we anticipate filing many more patents in the near future.

Q. Do you see yourself as an automaker/OEM in a few years time frame?

No, we are not an automaker/OEM company. We believe to bring autonomy into real life, we definitely require an AI company who will serve as the intelligence partner with its groundbreaking research and then an OEM/automaker can build vehicles on top of this research, similar to what Android did for smartphones. So we imagine ourselves as an AI android layer for all applications of autonomous driving in the world.

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