Kar-Go
IndustryRobotics
FounderPasi William Sachiti
HeadquartersWales, United Kingdom
OwnerAcademy of Robotics
Number of employees
10+
Websitehttp://academyofrobotics.co.uk/


Kar-Go is an autonomous delivery vehicle, designed and built by the Academy of Robotics, a UK company registered in Wales. The vehicle uses self-drive/driverless car technology to drive itself to locations where it will deliver packages autonomously.

History

The parent company was founded in 2015 by entrepreneur Pasi William Sachiti at Aberystywth University. The company was seeded with a £10 000 grant from the University as part of its InvEnterPrize scheme. In late 2016, the company partnered with Pilgrim Motorsports, a specialist UK car manufacturer. In early 2017, the parent company Academy of Robotics was announced to be part of NVIDIA's accelerator to further develop Kar-go. In mid-2017, the company sought funding via Crowdfunding on the UK Financial Services Authority regulated firm Crowdcube. Kar-go raised 320K at a £2million post money valuation. The company has reportedly also raised an additional 300K from an unnamed tech giant at a £2.5m valuation. In August 2018, the company raised an additional 100K from existing investors. The funding round was complete in less than six hours with the company being offered an £500K of investment which the company turned down in a move the CEO Pasi William Sachiti stated that he did not want to dilute existing shareholders. The company shortly after unveiled its autonomous data-gathering vehicles. These were vehicles were used to develop Kar-go's driverless vehicle technology. Data such as imagery for object recognition and geometry to measure distance were collected, to be processed for use in their autonomous vehicles. The vehicle was unveiled at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2019.

Technology

Kar-go uses Bayesian Simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM) algorithms, which fuse data from multiple sensors and an off-line map into current location estimates and map updates. Detection and tracking of other moving objects (DATMO) technology will lower the risk of it crashing into other cars and pedestrians. Sensors include lidar and stereo vision, GPS and IMU. The vehicle also uses visual object recognition and machine vision including neural networks. Inside the vehicle is a series of motors and a package-swapping mechanism which allows the vehicle to deliver packages to recipients.

The control software is completely autonomous once delivery timings and locations are determined, this is done autonomous using a vision system designed internally by the parent company Academy of Robotics. It makes high-level navigation turns such as intersection turns, lane changes etc. based on the vehicle’s presence in a ‘global map space’ which is updated continuously based on factors such as delivery locations, traffic, routes of other delivery vehicles etc. The control-stack can run real-time on a single NVIDIA-Drive-PX2 machine (6 camera inputs) with an NVIDIA Jetson-TX1 handling some of the supplementary processes such as delivery management, communication with the control center, data logging, etc. However, as a further level of contingency/safety, our delivery cars will have 2 Drive-PX2 machines, which also ensures a two-fold increase in processing time. The vehicle was unveiled at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2019, a few months later, the company announced on the road trials with Vinci Group.

Production

Kar-go is being built at bespoke car maker Pilgrim Motorsport's UK factory where it is being built from scratch. Chips from NVIDIA will be used, as will battery technology from Tesla Inc. Kar-go's team of scientists and engineers are also based at Pilgrim Motorsports. The vehicle's first street-legal prototypes are expected to be on the road for trials in early 2019. In March 2018, the company announced that it had hired multi-award winning vehicle design expert Paul Burgess who left his role at McLaren to join the team at Kar-go.