They estimate that the cost of the system can be brought down from its current £5,000 to only £100 (US$155).
Oxford University’s Mobile Robotics Group (MRG) has developed an autonomous navigation system for cars at a build cost of only £5,000 (US$7,700). Installed in a production Nissan LEAF, the robot car uses off the shelf components and is designed to take over driving while traveling on frequently used routes.
Automated driving technology already exists on several different levels – from the assisted driving systems found in some upmarket cars to full-blown robots that can drive themselves. The latter have become so advanced in recent years that some U.S. states have legalized their use on public roads. These types of vehicles can navigate everything from city streets tospeedways, but fully autonomous cars have the drawback of being heavily modified vehicles with hefty price tags.
Led by Prof. Paul Newman and Dr. Ingmar Posner, the 22-member MRG team’s goal is to develop an autonomous driving system that is more affordable and can be used on standard production cars. To achieve this, the system had to be largely self-contained without the need for beacons or other infrastructure. It also needed to use standard components and have a degree of artificial intelligence.
The car chosen for MRG’s tests was a modified Nissan LEAF. The LEAF was altered to make it fly-by-wire, so that everything down to the turn indicators could be controlled by the car’s computers.
The technology is based on “autonomous perception.” That is, the car learns about the route and can constantly monitor the immediate area in order to make driving decisions. It doesn’t use GPS because satellite navigation isn’t always available, isn’t accurate enough for driving and doesn’t provide any information about what’s going on around the robot car. Instead, a pair of stereo cameras is installed in the car and there are two scanning lasers under the front and rear bumpers.
via Gizmag – David Szondy
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