Jacques Mattheij

Technology, Coding and Business

Autonomous driving cars one big step closer to reality

According to this article from the German financial times:

http://www.ftd.de/auto/:autonomes-auto-pkw-schlaengelt-sich-fahrerlos-durch-stadtverkehr/50180284.html (in German)

The development of such driver-less vehicles has been under way for a considerable time (for instance the Darpa challenges), and has been part and parcel of science fiction pretty much as long as the genre has been around (for instance in the American popular TV series ‘Knight Rider’).

So far however the actual implementations lagged considerably, but this is as far as I know the first time that a car was able to successfully navigate city traffic without any modifications to the infrastructure, it behaved just like any other car on the road.

The length of the trip was 11 Km (about 7.5 Miles), the car (nicknamed “Leonie”) uses a variety of sensors including range finding lasers to scan its environment and react appropriately. Total trip time was about 10 minutes from start to finish, and it was not selected to be particularly easy, in fact the article quotes one of the team members as saying that it is pretty tough, one of the main arteries of the city with many dangers and regular accidents.

The car successfully negotiated crossings and obstacles, and was able to complete its ‘mission’ without mishap. For safety (and no doubt liability) reasons a driver was ready to take over at any moment but this was never needed.

Kudos to the researchers and students of the Technische Universitaet Braunschweig which made this happen, the future is one step closer.

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