Tales Of Technologies. Our Origin Story
I would like to take this opportunity to really dive deep into who Daltonomous is, as a company, and its visions for the future. This will be more in-depth than our ‘About-Us’ page, but it’s worth it, I promise!
Daltonomous was founded in September 2016 by myself when I was looking to start my career in entrepreneurship. I wanted to ensure that whatever my undertaking, that it was something that I was passionate about and could scale. It took me many months to ponder ideas because I wanted something that I could sink my teeth into for the long term.
In 2016, the hype about autonomous vehicles was just starting to creep up. Automakers such as Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, and not to mention Tesla were all introducing autonomous technologies to market. As I looked on at these technological advances, I noticed that they all had something in common; these were all automotive OEMs and they were all coming with solutions that would be implemented on-car. This struck me as interesting, because evidently these are all businesses that sell direct to consumer. As such, they are imparting the expenses of said tech directly to them as well. Although it is simple to see how the consumer benefit as a singular entity, from autonomous driving, there is another side. Society as a whole would be benefiting from this technology. I came up with the following to summarize my thoughts:
“As the world population continues to grow, the need for efficient, effective, and clean transport will be a paramount issue. There are two solutions in which I believe will have the greatest impact: 1) In shifting to electric vehicle technologies, our quality of life will increase. 2) By removing the need for a driver, human capital can be liberated for far greater endeavours. However, both these solutions will require a large, global paradigm shift.”
Let me break that statement down: in regards to electric vehicles, this is a shift that should positively impact global society. If we are able to create cleaner battery technologies (and optimized recycling programs) and power those batteries with renewable sources of electricity, then we will substantially reduce harmful emissions in our atmosphere. This alone will significantly contribute to a greater quality of life. There is even the added benefit of quieter urban areas, since loud exhausts and rubbling would eventually be a thing of the past.
Where We Come In
The second statement is more in line with what we are trying to achieve at Daltonomous; removing the need for a driver will be the most significant change to society that we will ever see in our lifetime. This will be akin to the change from horse and buggy to driving in the first automobile. Passengers will be able to utilize commuting time in an extremely efficient manner (either for work, sleep, or socializing), which will have a monumental impact. Let’s break this down further:
If a person has to commute 1 hour each way to work, that is 10 hours per work-week wasted. Let’s assume that this person makes only minimum wage ($15/hr). That’s $150 per week of wasted work potential, or about $7800 per year. If we multiply that across a workforce of 10 million people, that’s 78 Billion dollars of waste, from commuting alone! This is not even looking at the emotional toll that this commuting time takes on the individuals or families. In places that have loads of traffic and a proclivity for bad weather, not only is the driver carrying higher risk, but their families do as well.
Without diving into a myriad of examples, it should be pretty clear that there are many benefits to a driverless society. These benefits are what has spurred Daltonomous on to create new technologies for societal gain. We are interested in creating infrastructure changes for the masses. Since there is such a large societal gain, we believe that governments will want to pursue the autonomous path as soon as possible.
At Daltonomous, we are working on Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) communication. This is where the car is able to communicate in some way with the road, lights, signals, and signs to acquire a better understanding of the world around it. Although infrastructure change is quite an undertaking, there are benefits to be had. For instance, there is standardization of technologies (which helps to drive cost down) and the technologies are rigorously tested to ensure public safety is never compromised.
As a final remark, it must be stated that we believe that V2I technology will not be sufficient to have a car drive autonomously. Rather it will be a myriad of interoperable technologies and protocols that will be necessary to achieve true autonomous driving. A mix between V2I and V2V will be required. As such, there will certainly be a need for all companies in these fields to come up with standards to ensure public safety is never jeopardized.
I hope this has shed some light on who we are and where we are going. Please keep an eye out for more of our articles.
Alex D'Alton is an Alumnus of the University of Waterloo, in Ontario, Canada. Alex is all too familiar with entrepreneurial endeavours. He has experience leading the design and building of advanced composite electric vehicles. He is determined to push the boundaries of EV and autonomous technology to create a safer and environmentally sustainable world.