Anthony Levandowski is back in the self-driving space with a new company. Pronto AI. This Tuesday, he announced on a blog post on Medium that he has completed a trip across the country in a self-driving car without any human intervention. He is also developing a $5,000 aftermarket driver assistance system for semi-trucks, which will handle the steering, throttle, and brakes on the highway.
Exclusive – Anthony Levandowski launches self-driving truck start-up https://t.co/DgPRUD72gZ with claims of a hands-free, zero-disengagement cross-country trip from San Francisco to New York.https://t.co/ApSyHgVKxG pic.twitter.com/KNOo3EorMQ
— Mark Harris (@meharris) December 18, 2018
Previously, Levandowski has been at the center of a controversy between Alphabet’s self-driving car company Waymo and Uber. Levandowski had allegedly taken with him confidential documents over which the companies got into a legal battle. He was briefly barred from the autonomous driving industry during the trial. However, the companies settled the case early this year. After laying low for a while, he is back with Pronto AI and it’s first ADAS ( advanced driver assistance system).
“I know what some of you might be thinking: ‘He’s back?’” Levandowski wrote in his Medium post announcing Pronto’s launch. “Yes, I’m back.”
Levandowski told the Guardian that he traveled in a self-driving vehicle from San Francisco to New York without human intervention. He didn’t touch the steering wheel or pedals — except for periodic rest stops — for the full 3,099 miles. He posted a video that shows a portion of the drive, though it’s hard to fact-check the full journey. The car was a modified Toyota Prius which used only video cameras, computers, and basic digital maps to make the cross-country trip.
In the medium blog post, he also announced the development of a new camera-based ADAS. Named Copilot by Pronto, it delivers advanced features, built specifically for Class 8 vehicles, with driver comfort and safety top of mind. It will also offer lane keeping, cruise control and collision avoidance for commercial semi-trucks and will be rolled out in early 2019.