THE HIVE THINK TANK: Machine on the Move – Deconstructing Autonomous Navigation

November 7, 2016 – By Travis Miller


Like a robot using a SLAM algorithm to simultaneously discover and map its environment, leaders in the autonomous driving industry continue to build cutting-edge solutions in an ever-unfolding, ambiguous landscape. Alongside the big names that are grabbing the headlines – Tesla, Uber, Google Chauffeur – there is an impressive and diverse conglomerate of roboticists who are driving the industry forward.

With four different backgrounds represented among panelists, The Hive Think Tank’s Machine on the Move – Deconstructing Autonomous Navigation Panel provided an energetic discussion full of varying perspectives.

Nima Keivan, as CTO of Canvas Technology, builds autonomous ground vehicles to transport products in warehouses and factories.  Augmented Pixels’ founder and CEO, Vit Goncharuk, is helping pave the way for robots and flying drones to precisely navigate GPS-denied environments.  Zoox – an emerging startup for self-driving cars – was represented by its Chief Science Officer, Gabe Sibley. And Hiroshi Saijou, CEO and Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Ventures, invests in automation startups.

The panel – astutely moderated by Grant Allen of ABB Ventures – discussed the industry’s latest technological developments: sharing differing viewpoints on what combinations of lidar, radar, and cameras should be leveraged to build the ideal autonomous solution.

Current industry gaps were identified and discussed: sensors needing more powerful and more rapid processing power, machine vision still falling short in ambiguous scenarios, and a lack of maturity in hands-off, long-term autonomy.  Public perception and regulatory issues – and to what degree automation companies can, in the short-term, be self-regulated – was also discussed.

Finally, among other topics, panelists noted which geographic regions were better for autonomous development than others – be it the free testing environment in the UAE, early-adopting societies like Singapore, and the curious idea of “smart cities”.

At the end of the event, the audience jumped in with questions of their own.

What lessons can be learned from the military in the autonomous technology space?

How can cities use resources efficiently to empower autonomous driving?

Will machine-to-machine communication and sharing of data ever elevate to a level powerful enough to make autonomous driving the norm?

Answers in the autonomous driving industry are often undefined and still evolving.

But one thing is sure: as engineers press forward, they see the goal of safe, reliable, and inspiring tools taking shape more than ever before.

Pictures from the event.

You can watch panel discussion on The Hive Mumble YouTube channel.

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