When it comes to autonomous cars, almost every carmaker and tech company resort to LIDAR sensors. So far, Tesla has been the sole automaker to rely on a camera-based system. However, that is about to change with the entry of a new startup AutoX that promises a more radical approach to self-driving cars equipped with camera systems.
AutoX is the brainchild of Dr. Jianxiong Xiao who is a computer vision professor at Princeton. Dr. Xiao announced recently that he had received a self-driving test permit from the Department of Motor Vehicles that allows him to do test drives in California, according to Electrek. He subsequently posted his first test video demonstrating the capabilities of his prototype technology.
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Adorably known as "Professor X" to his students, Dr. Xiao left his post at Princeton and started AutoX almost a year ago. The startup has consistently kept its project under the radar and has only surfaced recently following the release of its first test video.
Tesla's Autopilot technology uses eight cameras that work alongside high-precision GPS data, forward-facing radar, and a 360-degree ultrasonic coverage to provide its cars with self-driving capabilities. The company does not use LIDAR sensors, something that sets it apart from other automakers working on autonomous driving technologies.
On the other hand, AutoX is pushing the boundaries of autonomous driving even further by using cameras only. This allows the firm to develop a technology that is significantly cheaper and can be easily integrated into almost any car.
In an interview with Business Insider, Dr. Xiao said that they bought a handful of cameras costing $50 each from Best Buy and strapped them into a 2017 Lincoln MKZ. Working on their prototype for six months, they were able to create a decent enough image processing and autonomous driving technology that can drive on public roads. Check out the demonstration video below.