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Idriverplus, a Beijing-based supplier of driverless vehicle and robotics systems, this week raised over 100 million yuan (~$14.6 million). The company says the proceeds will be put toward R&D, deploying robotaxi fleets, and ramping up production of cleaning robots and other specialized robotics products.
The pandemic has accelerated the demand for robots and self-driving cars, as they’re inherently contactless and thus low-risk. Because customers and delivery workers are exposed to disinfected machines rather than each other, robots promise to limit the spread of infection while addressing gaps in on-demand delivery. According to a July survey by researchers at Pompeu Fabra University, over 195 different kinds of robots have been piloted in hospitals, health centers, airports, office buildings, and other public spaces since the start of the pandemic. And an Interactions report found that over 73% of people are comfortable with the idea of delivery robots, an uptick from pre-pandemic levels.
Idriverplus was founded in 2015 by engineers hailing from Tsinghua University, who developed an operating system that leverages lidar, cameras, radar, and algorithms to model environments, detect road surfaces, and avoid obstacles. The team also engineered a vehicle control unit with ultrasonic sensors, inertial measurement units, GPS, and anti-collision sensors that help to …
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