Sunday, August 18Always On-point

Zimbabwean, William Sachiti Launches Kar-go, Europe’s First Roadworthy Driverless Delivery Car

We have talked about Pasi William Sachiti a few time in the past. We have been impressed by his UK startup, Academy of Robotics which has been working on Kar-go, a driverless car to solve the last mile delivery problem.

The last time we talked about Sachiti and Kar-go, he had just successfully raised funding for the innovation via a crowdfunding platform. The autonomous vehicle was launched last week and it was hosted at two glamorous events in the UK.

Hosted by the Duke of Richmond

Kar-go was part of the Duke of Richmond’s Festivals of Speed (FOS). This is when the Duke hosts motoring enthusiasts from around the world who flock to see the latest concept cars to classics. A new addition to the show is what is called, the FOS Future Lab which has become a centre piece of the event. This is where Sachiti’s car was featured.

Minister S B Moyo

Sachiti’s vehicle was also hosted at an event graced by Zimbabwe’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, S.B Moyo during his trip to the UK. The minister together with Zim’s ambassador to the UK inspected the Kar-go vehicle at an exclusive reception hosted at the Westbury Mayfair hotel.

The event organised by Conrad Mwanza and the Zimbabwe Achievers Awards team saw Sachiti share his vision to make Kar-go technology available around the world. Sachiti who still frequently visits his family in Zimbabwe says he used Zim roads to ‘train’ the car’s AI:

There are some great delivery robots out there, but most of them are designed to run on neat pavements or sidewalks of grid-like cities. We want Kar-go to be universally applicable, so we have trained our technology in a number of different environments and of course, for me, Zimbabwe was a natural choice

Resultantly, Kar-go has a unique software stack that allows it to navigate on unmarked country roads and even without GPS.

Paul Bennett, MD of Pilgrim Motorsports and William Sachiti unveil Kar-go to the international media at Goodwood Festival of Speed
William Sachiti and fellow Zimbabwean and early investor, Byron Fundira outside Westbury Mayfair Hotel in London where Kar-go was on display as part of an exclusive Zimbabwean reception organised by ZAA

How does Kar-go work again?

Kar-go works in conjunction with an app, where recipients can track their delivery and meet the vehicle just like meeting a pre-booked taxi. Recipients will then use the app to open the hatch to release their specific parcel. Inside the vehicle, a patented package management system will sort and re-shuffle packages on the move.

Powered by Tesla batteries, Kar-go can drive at 60mph and cover around 193km before it needs re-charging – around the same distance as an average delivery driver covers daily. Travelling at up to about 96km/h, the vehicle has been developed in collaboration with the UK’s vehicle licensing authority, the DVLA, to travel on the roads.

Adopting a revolutionary terrain-training approach, Kar-go uses advanced evolutionary artificial neural networks to train the vehicle in a way which mimics aspects of nature and biology helping it to learn from events in the past and apply this knowledge to new situations it faces.  

Here’s a video we shared previously:

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