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autonomous vehicle zPod drives itself using technology inspired by human brain

Meet zpod, minus zero’s AI self-driving vehicle


Vehicle startup Minus Zero develops zPod, a self-driving public transport that has a mind of its own. The team dubs it as India’s first autonomous vehicle, and the autonomous vehicle is built on artificial intelligence that Minus Zero themselves created. In other words, they built the AI that teaches the vehicle zPod how to drive itself. In fact, the team forged Nature-inspired AI (NIA) which draws its foundational calculations from how the human brain works.


This particular AI is inspired by the way people’s brain processes information using neurons, and in return, NIA attempts to replicate the way the brains solve problems using artificial intelligence. The Nature-inspired AI then can contribute to zPod’s learning, behavioral awareness, adaptation, episodic memory, and predictive decision-making.


Minus Zero’s team believes that by basing their AI on the human brain, the self-driving vehicle can make itself more capable of deciding where and how to drive, the ways it can avoid obstacles and accidents on the road, and what to do when faced with on-road issues compared to solely relying on computer algorithms. In August 2023, the team brought out their zPod on the road for a test drive where the passengers can be seen being driven around by the self-driving vehicle on its own.

minus zero zpod self-driving vehicle
video stills by Minus Zero, via Youtube



Fully autonomous vehicle without sensors


From Nature-inspired AI, Minus Zero builds True Vision Autonomy, its artificial-system sibling installed in the self-driving vehicle zPod. The design team describes it as a system for autonomous cars that is not only scalable, meaning it can work in different situations and scale well to different sizes, but it can also attempt to mimic how humans understand and drive. To help it drive itself, zPod then uses cameras instead of multiple sensors to see and understand the roads and what happens around it.


The autonomy system comes in both software and hardware, and it is designed to work in real-time so that zPod can make decisions quickly and while driving itself. Minus Zero says that the technology is focused on safety, especially in critical situations, to make sure that the passengers are out of harm’s way. True Vision Autonomy also eliminates different uses of sensors such as LiDARs, RADARS, high-precision IMUs, GPS-RTK, and HD Mapping since it is purely based on cameras.

minus zero zpod self-driving vehicle
Minus Zero installs Nature-inspired AI to its self-driving vehicle zPod



Minus Zero’s zPod comes with integrated GPS


As for zPod, the self-driving vehicle also comes with an integrated GPS which it refers to for navigational purposes. When the cameras scan the surroundings – they are installed around the vehicle, so it can gain 360-degree views – the autonomous vehicle can predict whether to keep driving forward or stop to let another car pass by or take over. As soon as the cameras capture these images in real time and get a sense of the surroundings, they are processed by the self-driving vehicle’s computing system located in the plush seats of the public transportation.

minus zero zpod self-driving vehicle
Nature-inspired AI is a system inspired by the way people’s brain processes information using neurons



Minus Zero says that there are two installed processing systems: the Active one makes fully autonomous driving possible, while the Backup part acts as a decision-maker in case of failures on the road and in the engine. On top of the self-driving public transport, the integrated GPS is located, so it can immediately see what is up on the road. Looking at the design, the boxy ride has no doors and takes its design cues from electric rickshaws. Four passengers can be accommodated, two facing the other two riders, and the leather-like seats are cushioned for comfort.


As of publishing the story, Minus Zero took zPod for a spin during its test drive in August 2023, and recently, its co-founder Gagandeep Reehal took the stage at the Mint AI Summit 2023 to share his insights on building generalized intelligence for driving such as Nature-inspired AI and True Vision Autonomy. There is no news yet on the potential limited or mass production of the said self-driving vehicle, and for readers interested in Minus Zero’s Nature-inspired AI, the team published its whitepaper for public viewing.

minus zero zpod self-driving vehicle
Minus Zero’s zPod comes with integrated GPS and operates without sensors


Meet zPod, Minus Zero’s AI self-driving vehicle

minus zero zpod self-driving vehicle
zPod uses cameras instead of multiple sensors to see and understand the roads

minus zero zpod self-driving vehicle
its autonomy system is designed to work in real-time so that zPod can make decisions quickly while driving itself

minus zero zpod self-driving vehicle
the rendering is embodied in the real-life model of the self-driving vehicle



project info:


name: zPod

startup: Minus Zero

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