Self-driving cars have a lot of potential, but due to regulatory hurdles and public safety concerns, it's likely to be at least another decade or more before they become truly mainstream.
Auro Robotics is a company in our current batch that is looking to launch fully functioning autonomous vehicles much sooner, by building them specifically for contained areas and campus environments. By targeting private areas such as colleges and amusement parks, Auro Robotics avoids many of the issues that are currently keeping self-driving cars from being more widely adopted.
Auro Robotics is currently operating pilots at five college universities, and plans to launch into other verticals in the coming months.
TechCrunch's Lucas Matney wrote about Auro Robotics in an article published this week:
"'The unique advantage this strategy gives us is that we are able to mobilize the shuttles now instead of waiting for the next five or ten years for laws to get through,' Auro Robotics CEO Nalin Gupta said.
Gupta told me that the main challenge in designing an autonomous vehicle for this sort of area is building one that can smartly and safely navigate heavy pedestrian traffic, something he said their team has been finessing for some time.
The team actually creates a three-dimensional map of the environments that they’re deploying the shuttles in, so that the vehicles can be as responsive and aware of their surroundings as possible."