Bengaluru-based Self-driving Vehicle Startup Minus Zero has raised $1.7 million in funding round from Chiratae Ventures.
The round also saw participation from JITO Angel Network and senior executives from tech companies like Nvidia, and Lyft.
The startup plans to use the funds for broader autonomous vehicle research and development, building infrastructure, and hiring more people.
It is also eyeing the public launch of its first autonomous vehicle use case from late 2022 to early 2023.
The Bangalore-based Minus Zero was founded in 2020 by Gagandeep Reehal and Gursimran Kalra.
It claims to have built an affordable technology for self-driving, which is known to use high-end, high-definition cameras, extensive data collection and sensors such as LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging).
The company said that Minus Zero believes that the complexity of self-driving cars can be solved not by stacking up more sensors or petabytes of data, but by making the AI more intuitive, similar to the way our own brain handles decision making.
“With multiple patents in the pipeline, our proprietary approach towards self-driving mimics human intuition giving the software an ability to gain confident insights even with lesser data inputs. This enables robust decision making, which is crucial for safe navigation in scenarios where extrinsic factors like poor traffic infrastructure, rash driving, harsh weather, etc. would have otherwise compromised with the safety of the vehicle”, Said, Gagandeep Reehal, CEO & CTO of Minus Zero.
Many global tech giants are working hard to break into self-driving technology, led by the likes of Tesla and Google. Countries like India are believed to take longer to adopt the technology, given the complex terrain and traffic.
“Autonomous vehicles (AV) are no more a thing of the future and need to become a reality now. Scaling AV adoption beyond the current limited usage in specific cities and high-end cars, requires a reimagination beyond relying on expensive technologies like Lidar and training over millions of hours of data”, said, TCM Sundaram, founder & vice chairman of Chiratae Ventures.
“Further, emerging markets like India with difficult and unstructured driving conditions, the approach to AV needs to be novel and specifically tailored. The Minus Zero team brings a fresh approach to AV and build for mass adoption in entry and mid-level cars and emerging markets”, he added.
About Minus Zero
Minus Zero is India’s first startup building affordable fully autonomous vehicles in the country, capable of fully driverless maneuvers in world’s toughest unstructured and disorganized traffic scenarios, powered by proprietary nature-inspired AI that is less dependent on extensive data & costly sensor suite (like LIDAR’s, etc.).