I wasn’t shy about my disappointment in the 2017 Big Data Expo because it was so lacking in robotics, motion control, and automated vehicles. I consider this to be central to our future as humans . . . see: 2017 Big Data Expo.
Though I was unsatisfied with the robotics, motion control and automated vehicle coverage in the 2017 Expo, I was MORE THAN SATISFIED with it’s prominence in 2018. Indeed Pixmoving may be the Future of AV Open Source. (AI) was everywhere in the Pixmoving presentation. The highlights were the coffee robot, the donkey car race, and the driverless car. The coffee robot demonstrated the fine detail, proving how far robotics and AI has come. The donkey car competition showed how difficult it is to drive a car, even in fairly predictable environments and situations.
Full coverge of the Pixmoving events before and during the 2018 Big Data Expo is in the movie “Robo Cars of China”.
Visiting the Pixmoving display I spoke with Nancy Lee, Marketing Director at Pixmoving. She filled me in on the events at the expo:
The robot that serves the coffee was impressive, but it had no eyes. No wives or children moved the coffee pot, or the cups. Nevertheless, this demonstration was very good. You can tell by the audience reaction. This display got everybody’s attention.
The Donkey Car is a car that drives itself, but with very limited intelligence. It has a small on-board computer, some rule based controls, and a camera. The camera helps the car stay between the white lines. It looks like a toy “remote control” car, but there is no (human) controller when the race begins. All the decisions on direction and speed are made by the on-board computer. It is dumb, like a donkey.
The driverless car was also a big hit. There were so many people that wanted to ride around the circuit that I heard a man complain that he waited two hours to get on the car. The driverless car has a Lidar navigation sensor (on top) which is a newer product for machine vision. It uses lasers to judge objects and distances, many, many lasers to gather active data about the road. This car highlights several of the “drive by wire” products marketed by Pixmotion. Pixmotion is promoting open source coding for Automated Vehicles and has it’s own line of hardware that they are seeking to install, not only on cars, but many kinds of vehicles, from freight moving trucks to coffee serving robots on wheels.
May 20th to 26th 2018, a global self-driving race took place in Guizhou Province where about 30 top engineers from around the world participated in a challenge of intelligence tasks. The racing cars are controlled by open source control systems provided by Pixmoving. Participants completed tasks with their own algorithms to earn the final prize. People who are new to self-driving ideas were welcomed at the BigData Expo venue from May 26th to 29th.
Guizhou Province is located in Southwestern China, and is unknown to many people. It is, however becoming well known as “China Big Data Valley” where global high tech companies gather for connection, exposure, and data storage collaboration, etc.
Behind the events the Pixmoving team is like a “Magical Unicorn”
Pixmoving team is in a factory with 5000 m². The working space and engineer working areas are clearly based in this factory with full transparent glass rooms. Unlike many technology companies, Pixmoving team is dedicated in self-driving with their open, passion, and professional attitude. The factory is designed in a style of warm and full inspiration. A BBC series director once came and said that whoever works here must enjoy it. The purpose of this environment is to transform the pressure or the dull of work into flexibility, inspiration, and innovation. The communication is essential. If you ask anyone, engineer or not, who is working on their paperwork here, they can explain anything about car, robot, or 3D printer. They know their factory.
Pixmoving is different from those who are dedicated to a product for private mobility only. It’s the multi-functional designed chassis. The many services of life can be built upon it, combining both software and hardware. The flexibility on self-driving can apply to: a driverless shuttle, driverless hotel, driverless cinema, driverless vendors etc. The shared service concept serves the public in many ways, from coffee serving to industrial parks, from nature areas to dense residential areas, and especially anywhere in an appropriately designed Smart City. The first Chinese self-driving car test license will be issued to Pixmoving, which is it’s most recent milestone.
The Company values are: `cooperation, share, open, and innovation`. These are easily felt from each corner of it’s factory, not just slogans hanging on the wall. A Hackathon event was held in March of 2018 and gathered over 50 engineers from 11 countries at the factory. The open-desk workshop proved that open innovation and collaboration create massive and unimaginable results. Pixmoving believes that this BigData Expo is also driving more like-minded people to be involved in this field. The openness is a key factor in promoting future technology improvement. Futurama exposure of any big companies is cool, but open-involvement in this radical change process really matters.
2018 China Big Data Expo – Establishing the base for a self-driving industrial ecosystem in Guiyang.
Self-driving is a cutting-edge high-tech new industry that is closely linked with big data, smart manufacturing and the real economy. Under the principle of “Data Creation, Innovation Drives the Future” and the annual theme “Digitalization of Everything, Integration of Intelligence” this year’s General Assembly of the Expo is in total harmony with the robotic transportation industry. The City of Guiyang by creating a fair and shared innovative center in the heart of the city, gathering global attention to Guiyang. At the same time, we will be creating a self-driving ecosystem in Guizhou.
Pixmoving will further connect the world with institutions in Guiyang. The “unmanned vehicle technology” expertise should be drawn to Guiyang. The synergy of open rules in the unmanned industry is promoting Guiyang as an unmanned innovation city. Guiyang will lead the global realization of unmanned automated products.
The Donkey Car Race event has attracted high powered engineers to Pixmoving from all over the world. The American laser radar company Velodyne supported this event’s Lidar. Taiwan’s Neousys Company supported the event’s industrial computing platform. The American engineers at Udacity, an online education organization, cooperates with event organizers to jointly recruit global contestants and offers some bonuses and course awards. China’s Beidouxingtong Company supported the GPS positioning of the event.
Besides, the US DIY Robocars, Baidu Apollo, and Japan’s Autoware also joined as developer communities. A leading technology media, the Intelligence is an exclusive communication partner. In the future, they will have more connection with the Pix driverless team and Guizhou Province.