A defense technology startup in India, CRON Systems is working to get the prototype of fully functional Driverless truck this year to help Indian army in hostile locations.
A 40-member team at CRON Systems, cofounded by Chhabra, Saurav Agarwala and Tommy Katzenellenbogen, also claims that the first prototype would be ready in about six months.
“We intend to do a pilot before December this year and have a fully functional product up and running by the first quarter next year,” Chhabra was quoted as saying by Economic Times today.
The existing trucks themselves will be equipped with autonomous capabilities. The advantage of these vehicles is that they can reach the soldiers during emergency without any human involvement. Further, they reduce casuality by replacing soldiers at intrusion points during search operations.
“Autonomous trucks can help soldiers figure out the best routes and give them zero-visibility driving capability,” Chhabra claimed.
Two biggest automobile manufacturers in India are in advanced discussion with CRON Systems to use the technology in their trucks.
A lot of the back-end technology has been created by collaborating with Automotive Robotics, a player in the engine and powertrain testing field.
“We plan to make a plug and play model which can be used to convert the existing trucks into autonomous or at least semi-autonomous vehicles,” he said.
The startup, which had earlier developed encrypted communication system miCRON, laser walls for the Border Security Force and laser-guided surveillance systems, has come up with an offline mapping system for trucks.
Here, laser walls at the border are used as pointers for the trucks to communicate and drive forward.
“At borders, we cannot use the satellite maps. That would be like giving away the positions. So, we have developed an offline mapping system,” he said.
To safeguard against cyber threats, all the platforms along the border are connected to CRONet, an internal communication network.
CRONet will not talk to any other device except the device available to the forces. “All our products are primarily designed for the Border Security Forces and Indian Army. We have three-four people sitting at our office who work 24X7 to prevent such incidents,” Chhabria said to Economic Times.