A record nine major car manufacturers are exhibiting their vehicles at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, the world's largest annual technology fair, currently being held in Las Vegas.
One British company, in less heralded fashion, is powering what is claimed as the first autonomous vehicle to carry members of the public in the United States.
A press release reported as from French robotic auto specialist Induct (hosted by PR Newswire but not the company's website) said that CES visitors can witness a demosntration of the first intelligent, electric and driverless shuttle to carry members of the public in the United States.
The Navia is currently being demonstrated in use at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, powered by batteries produced by Abingdon, Oxfordshire, based Oxis Energy, a company that last September received Technology Strategy Board (TSB) funding under the Integrated Delivery Programme (IDP9).
The Navia, already deployed with partnerships in Switzerland, the UK and Singapore, is claimed to navigate streets easily and safely without the use of a rail or designated path by utilising advanced robotics, laser mapping technology and sensors that detect the vehicle's acceleration and rotation.
Navia calculates its position, nearby obstacles, route and distance traveled in real time, enabling it to carry its passengers quickly, safely and efficiently.
Navia autonomous vehicle powered by the UK developed OXIS Li-S battery
The Navia autonomous vehicle is powered by the UK developed OXIS Li-S battery, a partnership first announced in January 2012 in Oxfordshire, as Oxis Energy Ltd of Abingdon agreed to supply its rechargeable Lithium – polymer battery to Induct.
Induct announced the first delivery of the Navia self-driving electric shuttle under a partnership with Switzerland’s Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), in December 2012.￼
The real breakthrough with OXIS technology is that its rechargeable batteries can provide the specific energy required to replace the internal combustion engine. The impact is breathtaking – a real replacement for the petrol engine! By definition, the Company is making a contribution to emerging economies by providing a method to significantly reduce the carbon footprint emitted by motor vehicles.
The vehicle will be used in city centres, hospitals, university campuses and sporting venues but as many shuttles as is necessary can be injected into the traffic flow based on projected demand from statistical analysis and sensors at regular stops.
Oxis Energy claim a theoretical performance for Lithium-Sulfur as five times that for Li-ion (2735 Wh/kg), with further potential to further reduce the weight of current batteries to just 20%. OXIS said it's striving to achieve this and 350 Wh/kg has been demonstrated in test cells and 200 Wh/kg in production size pouch cells.
“We are progressing with improving the energy density of our batteries beyond current technologies so that, over time, vehicle journeys of 400-500 miles can be achieved on one battery charge. Once this mileage is achieved, then the petrol tank can be replaced.” claimed OXIS Energy CEO, Huw Hampson-Jones
The Navia is a driverless eight passenger robotised shuttle, designed for transportation in city centres, as it is designed for pedestrian areas.
Oxis Energy said safety is critical to the success of the vehicle, with OXIS lithium sulfur batteries providing a claimed excellent safety and high specific energy.
Operational costs of Navia shuttle by 40% to 60% percent lower that with a driver
Induct said that the average cost of running a regular shuttle service with driver in the United States is $200,000 per year. The Navia, offers a safe, environmentally friendly solution and with operational costs by 40% to 60% percent lower.
Induct Technology was founded in 2004 near Paris, France as a robotic auto specialist focused on the development of embedded geo-location systems and wireless communications solutions. The company developed Navia, an automated public transport shuttle first announced in Europe in 2011 becoming the first commercially available driverless vehicle in the world.
The Navia self-driving shuttle is currently deployed in Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), a technical college in Switzerland; British company Oxis Energy, a pioneer in lithium sulfur polymer technology; the Culham Science Centre, a high-security industry park run by the United Kingdom Atomic energy Authority; and Singapore's Nanyang Technological University.
Revolutionary Electric Vehicle Battery aiming for a 400Wh/kg cell for Electric Vehicles in 2016
The TSB supported Revolutionary Electric Vehicle Battery (REVB) project aims to further develop Lithium Sulfur (Li-S) based vehicle battery and Energy System Controller.
The collaboration between Imperial College London, Cranfield University and Lotus Engineering and Abingdon, Oxfordshire, based Oxis Energy will receive funding of £2,561,184 from the Technology Strategy Board’s (TSB) Integrated Delivery Programme (IDP9) - out of the total £3,540,993 projected project costs.
Oxis Energy announced on 4 November that the REVB project had officially started, and it was looking forward to a 400Wh/kg cell for Electric Vehicles in 2016.