Driverless car navigates 286km of highway on its own
While we are constantly reading about Google’s driverless car, China has just completed their test of a driverless car. It traveled for 286km on a highway, completely on its own.
“We only set a maximum speed and then left everything to the car itself. It knew the speed limits, traffic patterns, lane changes and roads using video cameras and radar sensors to detect other cars. It was all controlled by a command center in the trunk.”
Technical details are limited but it is claimed that GPS wasn’t used to navigate the car and it relied on its sensors not only to stay on the road but to work out which road to stay on. Unlike Google’s the Chinese driverless car uses computer vision to navigate aided by laser range finders. As a result it cannot drive and night and so the entire journey had to be completed during daylight. It also encountered some problems with fog and indistinct road markings. It could be argued that relying on computer vision is a more sophisticated approach than using GPS and laser range finders but without more information it is difficult to be sure. As well as just driving in a single lane the car overtook other cars a reported 67 times at an average of 87km/h.
The researchers say that, while this car is good, they want to build a better, commercially viable version for use on the roads.