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India’s first self-driving cars startup bags $1.7 million

May 23, 2022, 16:45 IST
Business Insider India
Gagandeep Reehal and Gursimran Kalra, founders of Minus ZeroMinus Zero
  • Self-driving car startup Minus Zero has raised $1.7 million in seed round led by Chiratae Ventures.
  • The company plans to get its first vehicle on the road by late 2022 to early 2023.
  • The Bengaluru-based startup uses a combination of camera-based vision and algorithms for its self-driving solution.
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Minus Zero — India’s first startup building affordable fully self-driving cars in India — has raised $1.7 million in seed round led by Chiratae Ventures. JITO Angel Network, a few senior executives from American chipmaker NVIDIA and US-based ride hailing service Lyft that competes with Uberalso participated in the round.

Minus Zero plans to use this capital to build extensive autonomous vehicle research and development (R&D) infrastructure and expand the team to get its first vehicle out on the roads by late 2022 to early 2023.

“Minus Zero believes that the complexity of self-driving cars can be solved not by stacking up more sensors or petabytes of data, but by making the AI more intuitive, similar to the way our own brain handles decision making,” the company said in a media statement.

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The Bengaluru-based startup — founded by Gagandeep Reehal and Gursimran Kalra in 2021 — uses a combination of camera-based vision and algorithms to drive its self-driving technology. The company claims to have multiple patents “in the pipeline” and a proprietary approach towards self-driving that mimics human intuition giving the software an ability to gain confident insights even with lesser data inputs.

“This enables robust decision making, which is crucial for safe navigation in scenarios where extrinsic factors like poor traffic infrastructure, rash driving, harsh weather, etc. would have otherwise compromised with the safety of the vehicle,” Gagandeep Reehal, chief executive officer and chief technology officer (CTO) of Minus Zero, said.

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Commenting on the investment, TCM Sundaram, founder and vice chairperson of Chiratae Ventures believes that autonomous vehicles are no more a thing of the future and need to become a reality now. He noted that scaling autonomous vehicles beyond certain cities needs reimagination beyond relying on expensive technologies.

Minus Zero, still in its infancy, competes with global tech giants Tesla and Google, which have been trying to crack self-driving technology for many years now. Currently, no major player in India is experimenting with autonomous vehicles as the technology is expected to take a longer adoption time due to traffic congestion, complex terrains and other reasons.

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