Heralding a new era of technology in Qatar, a startup based at Qatar Science and technology Park (QSTP) has developed a self-driving utility platform. Named Core and claimed to be the first in Qatar and the region, it is one of the winners of the Innovation Coupon, a grant, launched recently by Qatar Foundation Research Development and Innovation.
“Core is a self-driving utility vehicle, compact in size and ideal for operations on sidewalks and bike-lanes. Our vehicle will be used in the first self-driving contactless delivery pilot in public areas in the Netherlands next week. The vehicle has been shipped from Qatar for the pilot,” Munera Fahad Aldosari, co-founder, Airlift QSTP-LLC disclosed in an exclusive interview with Gulf Times
Munera Fahad Aldosari, co-founder, Airlift QSTP-LLC, Ahmed Mohamedali, general manager, Airlift
Airlift is a technology startup offering a mobile utility platform to unlock the value of autonomous systems for all. “From our headquarters in Qatar and tech hub in the Netherlands, we work with smart cities to identify new strategies to increase quality of life of their citizens while maintaining economic competitiveness using our modular self-driving vehicle,” explained, Aldosari.
“Innovation Coupon aims to help local entrepreneurs and startups scale their innovative ideas. We’re grateful for the support received from QF to our talented team and such initiatives will contribute substantially to the innovation movement in Qatar and help scale it globally,” continued, Aldosari.
According to Ahmed Mohamedali, general manager, Airlift is developing a mobile robotic platform for low speed multi-use functionality. “Powered by its self-driving capability, the Core platform consists of electric vehicle, self-driving navigation, computer vision, cloud computing, command and control and data analytics systems. It is ideal for contactless last-mile delivery and mobility, inspection, surveillance and data collection applications,” he said.
Mohamedali revealed that there are two variations of Core. “We are announcing our focus on moving people and things with two variations of Core. Core for delivery and Core - in the pipeline - for mobility. However, we’re also offering our platform for enterprises that would be willing to experiment with our self-driving technology which is cost effective and agile to capture its value and augment their staff productivity,” he continued.
First in Qatar and the region, there are a few similar concepts in the global market, however, Airlift plans to be the first in the mobility domain driven by the notion of democratising autonomy and technology with the motto ‘Robotics, Delivered’ to unlock the value of autonomous systems for industries.
The development of Core platform started two years back. “We always believed that the future lies in employing robotics and AI for augmentation of mankind. With the enthusiasm witnessed from the local authorities towards adopting cutting edge technology, we believe that it’ll take less than two years to seeing Core and other self-driving companies operating in Qatar,” maintained, Mohamedali.
Core is designed to comply with EU Regulation No. 168/2013 and international standards for vehicle safety and integrity such as ISO 26262.
“Demand is growing for self-driving delivery vehicles. We aim to introduce 100 vehicles to the market by 2022 both in Qatar and around Europe. With our partners, we’re studying many modes of delivery, each is suitable for a specific category. Currently, we’re considering e-commerce parcels such as fashion, electronics and home products,” he pointed out.
The current model of vehicle has a range of 70 km per each charge. “We are working to increase this range with the new model coming soon. During testing, we noticed people getting curious around the vehicle which represents a minor challenge during operation. However we're confident in the engineering and have added safety layers that'll prevent any issues,” highlighted, Airlift general manager.
“Our customers are service operators, last mile delivery service providers and shared mobility operators. End user is the consumer using on-demand delivery and shared mobility platforms. As a company, our vision is to pioneer the light weight autonomy market with efficient and sustainable innovations,” added the official.