Daimler-Owned moovel Group Creates a Confusing Human-Driven Autonomous Vehicle

Yes, you read that right: a human-driven autonomous vehicle. Of course that's nonsense, but it's one of the best ways you can describe this electric platform developed by the moovel Group.
moovellab 8 photos
Photo: moovel Group
The Daimler subsidiary describes itself as an urban mobility company bent on making cities smarter. To do that, it doesn't focus on one particular means of transportation, but looks for a much broader, more integrated solution. Right now, moovel Group offers three products: moovel app, moovel transit and RideTap.

They only work in Germany for now, and some of the features are even more restricted to just a few cities, but you can consider this a version of Tesla's beta testing the Model 3 by delivering the first models to company employees. Assuming everything turns out right, we can expect a wider spread of these services.

But as we've said, moovel Group doesn't allow itself to get stuck in one place for too long, so it's always looking for something new. Its latest project is called "Who Wants to Be a Self-Driving Car" which, even though it sounds hard to believe, is a very accurate representation of what it stands for.

The team has put together a battery-powered electric platform laden with your regular autonomous car sensors. You have a LIDAR sitting on top, a webcam, a 3D stereo camera, and a high-performance computer to deal with all the data they provide.

Where this initiative is set apart from the usual self-driving vehicle is the presence of a joystick-like controller, a VR Headset, and a weirdly-shaped bench that looks like it was taken out of tattoo parlor. That's where the human component of this autonomous vehicle... I want to say "sits," but "lies on their belly" would be closer to reality.

I know it doesn't make any sense, but once you hear moovel Group's explanation, it will. So here it goes. The actually quite brilliant idea is to "use augmented reality to help people empathize with self-driving vehicle systems." By removing our sight and replacing it with the kind of information an autonomous car would use to navigate only feeding it to a human instead, it provides us with a unique chance of experiencing what it's like to be the AI core of our future vehicles.

It is definitely the quickest ways of getting somebody who doesn't know anything about self-driving cars up to speed, even though it might require some convincing work to get them to hop on that seat. Speaking of which, in case you feel its awkwardness was unneeded, moovel Group has an explanation: "this lying position enhances the driver’s feeling of movement and allows full immersion in the perception."

So, now that you know what it's all about, would you feel comfortable "becoming a self-driving car?" You'd better answer before you watch the first few seconds of the clip below, though.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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