A Welsh start-up is on track to deliver one the of first road-legal A.I.-controlled autonomous vehicles in 2018 thanks to a successful crowdfunding round.
Kar-Go, built by The University of Aberystwyth-based Academy of Robotics is capable of delivering items to retail customers on unmarked roads without human assistance.
The Academy recently closed its equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube at more than £321k – 107 per cent of its original target. The 321K raised will also be matched by “one of the largest tech companies” in the world, according to William Sachiti, the group’s Founder.
It has also been shortlisted for Technology Start-up of the Year and Innovative Start-up of the Year by the Welsh Government-sponsored Wales StartUp Awards.
By using a combination of advanced robotics, driverless vehicle technology and an advanced package management system, Kar-Go will be able to make deliveries in residential areas at any time of the day.
With a wider scope to operate on public roads, the Academy is partnered with UK car manufacturer Pilgrim, and has already gained the appropriate legal requirements from the UK government’s Centre for Autonomous Vehicles.
Sachiti – currently the UK’s only driverless vehicle technology CEO – hopes his invention will remove up to 98 per cent of delivery costs.
Commenting on Kar-Go’s successful crowdfunding raise, he said: “We have a stellar team who are excited to have begun working on what we believe will probably be the best autonomous delivery vehicle in the world.
“For instance, our multi-award winning lead vehicle designer is part of the World Championship winning Brabham Formula One design team, and also spent years as a Design Engineer at McLaren.
“We also have a team of PHD level roboticists and scientists, and together, we are already working in Kar-Go at a Pilgrim Motorsports facility in Small Dole, West Sussex.
“We now also have over 300 shareholders.
“As a CEO, it is one of my primary duties to make sure Kar-go remains a fantastic investment, this can only be achieved by our team producing spectacular results. We can’t wait to show the world what we produce.”
Sachiti previously founded Clever Bins – outdoor bins displaying solar-powered digital advertising – which featured on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den. More recently, Sachiti became the founder of digital concierge service, MyCityVenue, which gained 1.6 million users before being sold to SecretEscapes.
He formed The Academy of Robotics in 2015. Part of Nvidia’s Inception AI Accelerator program for AI start-ups, the Academy is able to leverage the same driverless technology used by Tesla, Mercedes and Audi.
Sachiti says he is also in early stage discussions with several of Europe’s largest FMCG brands to recruit Kar-Go.