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Bhopal’s Swaayatt Robots Secures $4M To Develop 100% Driverless Tech

Bhopal's Swaayatt Robots secured $4 million in funding from US investors after showcasing its driverless Mahindra Bolero navigating single-lane traffic. Founder Sanjeev Sharma aims to achieve Level 5 autonomy.

By Rashaad Ather
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Sanjeev Sharma - Founder At Swaayatt Robots

Sanjeev Sharma - Founder At Swaayatt Robots

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Bhopal-based Swaayatt Robots gained widespread attention earlier this year when it showcased demos featuring the driverless Mahindra Bolero successfully navigating through two-way traffic on a single-lane road.

The demos gained significant traction on social media and even caught the attention of business tycoon Anand Mahindra, who shared the demo videos, commending Swaayatt’s innovation despite hailing from a tier-2 city.

Now, the robotics startup has secured $4 million in funding at a valuation of $151 million from US investors. The company is planning to raise an additional $11 million at a valuation ranging from $175 million to $200 million.

But the founder, Sanjeev Sharma, believes that Swaayatt needs more funding to realise his Level 5 autonomy project, which he claims competes directly with Tesla and other major tech companies worldwide.

According to Sharma, they currently have $6.3 million to advance their research. 

They are already operating in cities, highways, and off-road locations, and by the end of this year, they aim to develop a blueprint that could enable Level Four Autonomy globally. 

However, implementing the model on a larger scale may require funding of around $1.5 billion.

Swaayatt

What’s in it for investors?

Sharma claims the company is planning a major demo in August. 

“If the August demo doesn’t excite Sam Altman and Elon Musk, along with the world, I don’t know what will,” he told AnalysticsIndiaMag.

Earlier this year, the company executed a demo where it claimed to have achieved Level 5 Autonomy.

Sanjeev plans to increase driverless vehicle speed up to 60 km/h. Last October, the company tested autonomous vehicles navigating two-way traffic on single-lane roads at 44 km/h.

Founder Sanjeev Sharma

Future Plans:

Swaayatt plans to focus on targeting the military and autonomous trucking market. 

Sharma also emphasised the need to develop a system for retrofitting existing aftermarket vehicles in the military's autonomous driving market.

He further said that Swaayatt Robots has been in talks with some of the fleet owners in the US.

Swaayatt

The Irony:

Sanjeev is in touch with most Indian manufacturers except Mahindra, which is ironic since Anand Mahindra recently praised his startup. 

Still, Sanjeev firmly believes Mahindra’s vehicles are robust and easy to modify. 

Swaayatt

Is Swaayatt Robots A Direct Competitor of Tesla?

Sanjeev Sharma is positioning Swaayatt as an R&D company focusing on advanced research in autonomous navigation. 

Sanjeev reiterated in an interview with Analytics Drift that the startup's main focus is cutting-edge R&D in AI, computer science, and maths to develop models for safe and cost-efficient autonomous navigation.

Unlike Tesla, they do not have plans to sell cars in the near future. 

However, the Bhopal-based entrepreneur notes that even crossing a managed traffic light intersection is considered significant in the US by major players such as Waymo, Cruise, and Tesla. 

He mentioned the successful navigation of bi-directional traffic in a 2023 demonstration and emphasised the intense R&D challenges in this field.

Sharma also stressed the importance of addressing safety issues, citing GM's Cruise accident as an example.

Essentially, Sharma aims to develop advanced driverless autonomous technology that surpasses current models, including Tesla's.