Home Machine Control & Robotics Cyngn demonstrates autonomous forklift progress with BYD

Cyngn demonstrates autonomous forklift progress with BYD

by Kevin Jost
Cyngn is developing an autonomous electric forklift with BYD.
Cyngn is developing an autonomous electric forklift with BYD.

Cyngn Inc., the Menlo Park, CA-based developer of AI-powered autonomous driving solutions for industrial applications, this week announced that it has made significant progress adapting DriveMod to enable autonomous forklifts. The development effort is the result of a contract announced in September with an unidentified end-user in the building materials industry that yielded the autonomous capabilities on an electric BYD forklift.

According to Allied Research Market, the global forklift market was valued at $51.6 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach $103.9 billion by 2031. By leveraging the latest in autonomous industrial vehicle technology, companies using forklifts can eliminate the safety risks and delays associated with manual pallet transport workflows. Cyngn says its innovative solution effectively tackles labor shortage and consistency challenges faced by organizations while also enhancing safety.

“Adapting DriveMod to electric forklifts represents a significant milestone in the expansion of Cyngn’s portfolio of DriveMod-enabled vehicles to the most universal material handling vehicle,” said Cyngn CEO Lior Tal. “By combining our expertise in autonomous technology with a leading OEM like BYD, we can create sustainable, autonomous forklifts capable of tackling the most demanding industrial jobs.”

“This development represents a significant step forward in our commitment to innovation and delivering advanced, next-generation solutions to our customers, who choose BYD because they want to ‘work smarter,’” added Audrey Li, BYD’s VP of Operations. “The addition of DriveMod to our forklifts addresses the rising demand for automated solutions.”

BYD forklifts are powered by a lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery pack that is said to be maintenance-free and environmentally friendly—and designed to run longer and charge faster than traditional electric forklifts.

Key features of the DriveMod-enabled BYD forklift include flexible pallet detection, which uses proprietary AI and computer vision to detect and analyze pallet dimensions in real time—creating the flexibility to work with standard, non-standard, and custom pallet sizes. Safety is overseen by DriveMod’s commercially released multilayer perception framework that uses deep learning, machine learning, and basic collision avoidance to equip autonomous forklifts with redundancies and a 360° field of view while unloaded and loaded. The vehicle has an industry-leading load capacity of 10,000 lb, with the ability to stack multiple units fully autonomously.

Cyngn’s DriveMod Kit can be installed on new industrial vehicles at the end of the manufacturing line or via retrofit so that customers can adopt self-driving technology into their operations without high upfront costs or the need to completely replace existing vehicle investments.

It is part of the company’s flagship product, its EAS (Enterprise Autonomy Suite), which includes Cyngn Insight, a customer-facing suite of AV fleet management, teleoperation, and analytics tools, and Cyngn Evolve, and an internal toolkit that enables Cyngn to leverage data from the field for artificial intelligence, simulation, and modeling. In May, the company announced that it had hired a new VP of Engineering, Sean Stetson, who had held the same position at AMR (autonomous mobile robot) maker Seegrid, to continue the expansion of the EAS offerings.

Cyngn is targeting 2024 for the commercial launch of its autonomous forklift technology and invites prospective customers to join the waitlist for early access.

Check out the BYD autonomous forklift in action.

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