What started as an extracurricular project for Grant Fowler’s eco-car club turned into a concept vehicle start-up that is currently recruiting Florida Tech students.
From Obsession to Concept Vehicle
The software engineering major said the idea for his start-up company, ITV Motors, came to him in high school.
“It turned into an obsession from there,” Fowler said. “I just kept adding more innovations to the original idea.”
ITV stands for Innovative Transportation Vehicles.
Fowler’s concept vehicle is a single-passenger, three-wheel electric vehicle. It resembles a motorcycle enclosed in a sleek pod. Similar to something you might see in a sci-fi flick like Tron.
Fowler is currently in the development phase of the IT Mark I Developer’s Edition. With his focus set on penetrating the motorcycle market, Fowler is also looking at the alternative vehicle as a solution for low-income families.
“You can imagine a family of five and the parents can only afford one car. How are the parents going to get to work when the kids need to get dropped off at school?” Fowler said. “ITV Motors offers a solution.”
With a price point coming in at around $9,000, Fowler is keeping his profit margin thin so he can fulfil his desire to be a conscientious company.
“More than anything I want to be a morally obligated company,” Fowler said. “I don’t want to rip people off.”
The alternative concept vehicle will incorporate not only a 98% efficiency electric motor (at minimum torque) it will also include a voice-activated artificial intelligent navigation system, known as Jarvis.
Iron Man Aspirations
Taking a cue from Tony Stark, Fowler hopes to give drivers a similar experience with artificial intelligence while driving.
“What makes Jarvis different from other systems is the combination of a traditional voice-assist with the addition of chat bots that add in emotions so it feels like you are having a real conversation with a real person,” Fowler said.
This true to life conversation also serves a more important service than just navigation.
“We are also adding in learning algorithms, so Jarvis can learn your driving habits,” Fowler said. “Additionally, we are building a cloud-based system so we can learn how people drive when they are tired or intoxicated so we can build in driving precautions.”
So if Jarvis detects that the driver needs assistance, a recommendation screen will pop-up and guide drivers to a safe location to rest.
Fowler is using a human-centered design approach to address other vehicle features as well.
Most electric motors are very heavy, Fowler designed the motor with maintenance in mind. Weighing just 20 lbs., it can easily be moved for repairs. Additionally, Fowler decided to mix things up when it came to the rear-view mirrors.
“The problem with side view mirrors is that the exterior can get dirty, foggy or frozen over, which is really hazardous,” Fowler said. “You are almost completely blind. Putting the mirrors inside the vehicle allows easy clean-off and protects from the elements.”
While Fowler and ITV Motors don’t have a physical prototype to share yet, they do have a digital one.
“I chose the HoloLens not only because it is a budding technology, but because we can show thousands of people life-size models of the ITV right now, just by putting on a pair of glasses,” Fowler said.
Fowler has been hosting several informational sessions for students who want to join ITV Motors. He is able to easily demo the concept vehicle to them with the HoloLens.
In about 18 months with the help from fellow Florida Tech students, ITV Motors hopes to start taking preorders for the Mark I Developers Edition.
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