Leading software that powers some of the self-driving cars now on the market hails from Hungary, it has been revealed.
According to the San Francisco Gate, AImotive, based in Budapest, has set up shop in Mountain View California to test its self-driving technology and in order to work more closely with partners, some of which are headquartered in the valley.
Formerly known as AdasWorks, AImotive specializes in artificial intelligence software that will enable a car to understand and respond to the environment around it, including other cars and pedestrians. Unlike many of its competitors, AImotive’s software relies mostly on data from cameras, rather than radar, lidar and 3-D maps.
That should make the system significantly cheaper and more flexible than other versions of self-driving technology, said CEO and founder László Kishonti.
“It’s based on visual cues,” he told sfgate.com. “We want to replicate how the human operates the vehicle.”
AImotive joins an increasingly crowded field of traditional automakers such as Ford, tech giants including Google and lesser-known startups developing self-driving vehicles in the Bay Area.
AImotive’s engineers do not yet have permission from California officials to start experimenting with their vehicles on public roads, Kishonti said. But that is part of the reason they’re there. The company would also like to establish satellite offices in China and Japan, two countries that have expressed keen interest in self-driving technology.
“To make this a super-reliable product, we need to open these offices and test, test, test,” he said.
AImotive was founded in 2015, spinning out of an earlier tech company Kishonti founded that bears his family name. The startup first tried its technology on a Mercedes-Benz C-Class, driving laps around a racetrack. Now it needs more challenging, real-world environments. The Mountain View office will use an adapted Toyota Prius for its tests.
Although Kishonti wanted a presence in the Bay Area, his company will keep its headquarters and most of its 120 people in Budapest. The local office will probably employ eight people, he said.
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