A group of 15 Gujarati scientists have developed a driverless car prototype called ‘Dextra Smart’ in 28 days, controlled entirely from an Android app.
Inspired by Google’s Self-Driving Car project which recently drove across the U.S., the Indian driverless car is able to start, change gears, apply its brakes and steer following commands sent via a remote smartphone or laptop app, and can reach top speeds of just over 60mph autonomously.
The adapted five-seater Hyundaii10 features 18 sensors to determine location and surroundings, a screen to display the route, and six independent smart cameras which also operate in night-vision to help avoid road incidents.
“We have used high range cameras and video streaming that is available to us […] We are using 3G wireless system for communication,” said Kaushal Jani, assistant professor at Amiraj College of Engineering and Technology.
“We have put sensors for object detection. These prevent the car from hitting objects from either back or front,” added research fellow Nirav Desai.
According to Professor Jani, the car which cost roughly INR three lakh (approx. £3,300) to build, could bring great benefit for disabled people among a wide range of other use cases. “Various avenues are open for application of this technology, including commercial use,” said campus director Nitin Ralan.
Displayed last Wednesday at the two-day Dextra Tech Fest at the Sanand-based College, the team of researcher professors and students showcased a prototype of the car which had been specifically developed to help in border control and security operations. “It can be aptly described as a next generation ‘robo fighter’, which can also run on unmapped roads,” added Janai.
Priyank Patel, managing trustee at the Amiraj College, explained that the school was embarking on a programme named ‘Science beyond engineering’ – to help encourage its students to design products that may be of use to society beyond the labs.