UK-based Zimbabwean builds a self-driving car
A Zimbabwean entrepreneur based in the UK, Pasi William Sachiti, has built a self-driving
delivery car which he says will be ready for the streets in just 6 months from now.
The car, aptly called Kar-Go, uses artificial intelligence to drive itself around
delivering packages to homes and can deliver up to a dozen of them.
On what pain the car’s supposed to ease, Sachiti told Techzim: “The problem we are trying
to solve is that in the world of delivery, up to 80% of the cost of getting a parcel to
you occurs in the last mile. We want to remove that cost by automating the process of
Sachiti’s company, Academy of Robotics, has partnered a car manufacturing company called
Pilgrim Motorsports, which is helping them make the car. They have also been accepted
into Nvidia’s Inception AI Accelerator program which, the startup says, means they’ll
have access to more expertise and Nvidia’s GPU and AI resources for driverless cars.
Sachiti’s startup is now fundraising via a crowdfunding platform called Crowdcube. In
just 5 days, the company has raised more than £40,000 of its £300,000 target. The money,
says the startup, will be used to build the prototype vehicles and the moulds in order to
reduce manufacture time per vehicle. They also want to to use the money for driverless
infrastructure that’ll allow Kar-Go’s brain to process large amounts of data in real
If everything works according to plan, they should have a “street-legal” prototype ready
this year. Driverless cars are nothing new, globally. It’s a growing industry that
Google, Uber, Tesla and traditional car manufacturers are all racing in. Autonomous
delivery is also nothing new as logistics players, including Amazon, have announced they
are building drones to deliver to do the task. Kar-Go however solves some delivery
economics that drones will struggle with. Drones can carry only a limited number of
parcels per trip (that is limit of Kgs & parcel size) making them quite expensive to use.
It’ll also be interesting to understand which of the two methods (Drone vs Car) has more
regulatory hurdles to overcome in introducing a technology. My guess is drones, but it’s
really just that, a guess.
Sachiti comes to Zimbabwe often (his mother and brother are based here) and told Techzim
that his last trip was actually quite recent; “I was last in Zimbabwe 6 months ago,
interestingly, I was there to record footage of driving on roads in Harare. We use this
footage to have a driverless car learn/ teach itself how do drive on roads with potholes
by learning from watching the footage of how we do it”
Kar-Go is not his first startup, Sachiti founded Clever Bins (for which he featured on
Dragon’s Den and eventually sold for) and My City Venue, which was also later acquired by
By LSM Kabweza