Siri slates autonomous car test drives for last quarter

Siri slates autonomous car test drives for last quarter

Autonomous cars and air-taxi drones are a trend, says Mr Jirapat (third right).
Autonomous cars and air-taxi drones are a trend, says Mr Jirapat (third right).

Siri Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of property developer Sansiri Plc, is set to launch the country's first commercial test drives for autonomous cars by the fourth quarter, in collaboration with AIROVR, a Thai autonomous car developer, and the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA).

The test drives will take place at the Siri Ventures Private PropTech Sandbox, part of the T77 property near Sukhumvit Soi 77.

This is one of three innovations scheduled to launch in the final quarter of this year for Sansiri customers. The other two are drone delivery and sound sensors for security.

Jirapat Janjerdsak, chief technology officer of Siri Ventures, said the sandbox serves as a place to test startup innovations to be used in Sansiri projects.

"We will likely see autonomous cars and air-taxi drones as disruptive trends in terms of lifestyles, making us safer and more convenient as well as enhancing the transport industry in the country," Mr Jirapat said.

More importantly, these technologies could give Thai property developers a competitive advantage, offering customers a convenient commute and diminishing location as the main factor in choosing a property.

The three innovations will be launched for commercial purposes through collaboration with three startups and the NSTDA.

First, Siri Ventures will work with AIROVR and the NSTDA to pursue the autonomous car project.

AIROVR will develop the necessary infrastructure for electric autonomous cars to transfer passengers from accommodation to skytrain stations and vice versa.

Meanwhile, the NSTDA will develop required technology infrastructure at its T77 project, including drive-by-wire technology, which entails integrated sensors for autonomous cars, navigation systems, command and control, and high-resolution 3D maps.

As for drone delivery, Siri Ventures will collaborate with Fling, a Thai drone developer. Fling will provide drones for deliveries from Habito Mall to Sansiri's condominium at T77.

The test is set to begin after it receives permission from related agencies.

Regarding security systems, Siri Ventures will work with SoundEye, the world's first AI-driven smart building developer, on the project.

SoundEye's microphone sensor can help detect emergency situations, such as cries for help, water leakages and gunshot sounds.

"It would be the first time SoundEye's system is rolled out in a residential project," Mr Jirapat said.

Siri Ventures spent 300 million baht for corporate venture capital investment in 2018.

The company plans to invest 600 million baht in startups in the second half of this year through five aspects.

Some 20% of the investment will go towards the construction of a quality control system, called ConsTech, and 30% will be spent on technology that uses resources smartly and treats waste efficiently.

About 20% will go towards futuristic lifestyle technology and tokenisation under the concept of PropTech, and the rest will be spent on technology to enhance safety and comfort in residential projects, also known as LivingTech and HealthTech.

Mr Jirapat said the startups Siri Ventures invested in saw strong performance in the first half of this year.

They included Semtive, a developer of residential wind turbines; Neuron, a Singapore-based e-scooter startup; and OnionShack, the developer of Sanroo robots that can give information about innovation.

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