Now Playing: The world’s biggest auto parts maker is working on a K24 engine for field engineers to rebuild an automaton from seed to vehicle from scratch, and it’s already in development.
K24, which has raised more than $2 billion in funding from the likes of Microsoft, Qualcomm, Tesla, Ford and Intel, is being used to power a new generation of autonomous vehicles that can navigate city streets and deliver goods and people.
K12, the name of the K24’s prototype, was designed to be an affordable, modular, and energy-efficient way to build self-driving cars, but it will also be able to take over the day-to-day work of a factory.
The K12 is a fully autonomous vehicle designed to take on a variety of tasks, such as building, operating and repairing a factory and moving machinery around.
But K12 can also work as a “factory-ready” self-parking robot, which will be used to carry out manual tasks and help in assembly.
The car will also allow field engineers, factory workers, and even farmers to work autonomously without the need for human help.
“The technology we’re working on will allow us to create a completely self-sustaining factory that will be able deliver our products in the most efficient way possible, so the more we can do it, the more opportunities there are to build a fully self-sufficient vehicle,” K12 CEO and cofounder Jia Jiang told Mashable in a phone interview.
While K12 will eventually be able “run your entire factory autonomously, it will be a completely autonomous factory,” he added.
The first batch of K12 vehicles will be ready for testing in 2018, and the company expects the first vehicles to hit the road in 2019.
The company has also announced that it is working with auto parts makers to make K12 products available to the general public.
This is the first time that the K12’s software will be available to general consumers, and Jiang said that K12 intends to open source the software for anyone interested to use it.
In its current form, the K14 engine is already capable of handling “over 100kWh of power” from a single K24.
Jiang said K12 has also found ways to make the engine’s internal components self-contained so that it can be used as a factory assembly line instead of a self-propelled vehicle.
K12 plans to release new versions of its engine in the future, but Jiang said it is still working on its software for these new versions.
The company’s latest prototype K12 prototype, a 3D printed model of the engine, was demonstrated by Jiang at the International Auto Show in Detroit last month.
The engine is capable of producing up to 50kWh, and K12 says that it will “get close to 500kWh” with the next version of its prototype engine.
The latest prototype is based on the company’s new version of the Tesla Model 3 sedan.
Jiang told the audience that the company is already working on an electric version of K24, but K12 won’t reveal specifics on that yet.
“There’s a lot of potential for this, but we’re just not ready yet,” Jiang said.