The field of robotics in Zimbabwe is largely undermined despite the fact that it can take the country to greater heights. Daniel Chingoma is of the Zimbabweans whose helicopter was defamed by the public who have the mentality that nothing comes good out of Zimbabwe. But there are some headstrong young techies building robotics stuff like the Airtime Vending Machine.
With robotics traduced to almost nothing, most Zimbabweans take their innovations elsewhere where they are accepted.
By Owami Sithole
William Sachiti is one them that travelled to UK to pursue his career in robotics to create a driverless car.
In an interview with an Zimbabwean born William Sachiti now based in UK , he said Robotics could be the only solution to reach otherwise inaccessible sites , serve as delivery carriers , thus saving millions of dollars in the world.
Sachiti started and sold a few companies over the last few years. His quest took him through the BBC’s ‘Dragons’ pitching one of his previous companies several years ago leading him to head the The Academy of Robotics in UK.
“I am serial entrepreneur I start small companies and grow them to point where they are eventually acquired. I have been doing it for a while until I decide to settle on one big innovation which is the space of robotics.
“What I want to do is to disrupt the delivery industry where there is something called the last mile of delivery which is the most expense part of delivery, so we thought we could cut out up to 80percent of the coast by using a driverless car.
“There was a legislation huddle which we had to go past to, get the legal permission to get driverless cars on roads this was quiet complicated but we are finally there.
“I have managed to put together a team of scientists, engineers and roboticisits to work on my current company the company is targeting a nearly $100Billion market by seeking to redefine last-mile delivery where 50% of package delivery costs occur, through the use of our autonomous electric vehicle, Car-go,” he said.
He explained his driver-less car.
“Car-go is a driverless car which aims to disrupt the last mile of delivery by introducing a driverless car which is able to automatically deliver packages to people’s houses. The car is a custom made vehicle we design and build from scratch. Car-go streamlines the process by introducing electric, autonomous vehicles they drive themselves, with our intelligent package management system,” said Sachiti.
He went on to say their cars are optimized to autonomously drive on un-marked roads, making the vehicle perfect for deliveries in residential areas.
“ Currently we have a fundraising round open with the American venture capital fund Seed Invest. Driverless cars already exist with some of the largest companies in the world working on being the first to introduce these driverless vehicles on a mass scale.
“We are also in that race but our aim to do this all for deliveries rather than for carrying people, we have already got working prototypes and are expecting to see the first street legal versions out in the street in the next 12 months,” said Sachiti.
He added, “We started in Europe we are to work in Africa as a project soon.”
“The time Im in Zimbabwe I am to work on a small part of this driverless car aspect I want to get footage of driving on Zimbabwean roads because we going to teach our robot brains what potholes are and to avoid them, how we train driverless robots it learns just like a person learns, just as drivers avoid potholes it can watch this up to thousand times in its heard in some seconds and the robot will be able to drive better than you a driver.
“This will enable us to have the ability to teach a driverless car the difference between different types of pot-holes and how best to navigate them. While we are not expecting to be putting driverless cars on the roads of Africa or Zimbabwe soon, this will be a good step in the right direction,” he added.