Adelaide-based electric vehicles (EV) manufacturer ACE has penned a deal that will see its cars become a whole lot smarter and capable of autonomous driving.
In partnership with leading smart cities solution provider SenSen Networks (ASX: SNS), ACE's cars will develop a "brain" of sorts, allowing its light electric utility vehicle The Cargo to avoid collisions and become a driverless car.
Once the capability is developed and certified, the smart EVs will be manufactured in South Australia - the former hub of Australian car manufacturing before Holden announced its exit from the market in 2016.
ACE managing director Greg McGarvie says autonomous EVs are the future with "so many opportunities" to stem from their development.
"Imagine driving a super-efficient electric vehicle, built locally in South Australia, with onboard collision avoidance systems, and the additional capability of a follow me, parcel delivery system, which like a good cattle dog, stays at your heels and pauses with you as you deliver packages," he says.
"Visualise your super-efficient electric vehicle recognising you, then greeting you on your approach, unlocking the doors, then asking you where you would like to go.
"This is the future."
ACE's cars will use SenSen's distributed and intelligent sensor analytics platform (SenDISA) to interpret data from cameras and sensors. This will allow the cars to detect vehicles, people and objects and determine their speed and location.
ACE is on track to launching a range of EVs for both the urban and commercial markets in 2021, with hopes to be producing 15,000 cars a year by 2025.
In August 2019, ACE's first EV vans were assembled at its manufacturing facility in Adelaide.
The facility at the Tonsley innovation centre is the former main assembly building for Mitsubishi Motors - since re-purposed to house R&D facilities for startups in SA like ACE.
When the facility was launched McGarvie told The Driven that he hoped to build a company fit for the future.
"It's about the future for my grandchildren and the passion to get something done for Australia and the world," McGarvie told The Driven.
"Even if carbon isn't causing the issue it makes sense to use vehicles that are more cost effective than fossil fuel burners."
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