Wednesday, 12 August 2015

One Camera is all This Self-Driving Car Needs


Self-Driving Vehicles with One Camera

Vision systems are now considered to be adequate in enabling a car to drive automatically with only a camera. Several self-driving vehicles, inclusive of Google’s prototypes are impressed with the sensors like the cameras; high accuracy GPS, ultrasound as well as the expensive laser ranging instruments called `lidar’.

These devices tend to support the cars in building a composite image of the world around for the purpose of safe driving, though some of the components like lidar tend to be quite costly. A demo portrayed how quickly some of the technology has been progressing.

A company – Magna which provides components to several huge carmakers has recently shown that it could make a car drive itself with the use of a single camera which is embedded in the windshield. Cost of the technology has not been disclosed by the company but the vehicle camera system would probably cost hundreds of dollars instead of thousands.

 This achievement has been possible due to the speedy progress in the software that comes from MobileEye, an Israeli company, which is good at interpreting a scene.

Software Recognized Traffic Signs

Lead control algorithm engineer at Magna, Nathaniel Johnson, organised a ride in a Cadillac with the installed technology in it and after pulling onto the I-94 north of Ypsilanti, Michigan, he pressed a button on the steering wheel in order to activate the system and then sat back enabling the car to take control.

Johnson explained that `it could drive itself in several situations and as the car followed the curve of the road, it used various image processing techniques’. Entertainment display on the dashboard of the car portrayed the video feed which was being processed by MobileEye’s software.

Besides this, the lane marked were emphasized in green while green boxes were drawn around each vehicle ahead with their numbers indicating their distance in feet. Moreover the software also recognized instantly, the traffic signs. He also clarified that the automated driving method could be organized to stick to whichever speed the sign indicated. He took the opportunity of taking the wheel for a few seconds then abandoned it, enabling the self-driving system to retake control.

Technology Linked with Other Sensors

The company had been testing the technology, in trails for the past several years in U.S., Germany, and U.K and recently in China. It is said that the technology would not be utilised this way by carmaker but would probably be linked with other sensor systems, though it portrays that automated driving abilities can be added quite cheaply to vehicles.

Johnson has informed that `for higher levels of autonomy, they would need more sensors, but this seems a good introductory level of autonomy. It is something people could afford and get into their cars’.Currently, automated driving systems like adaptive cruise control as well as hands-free parallel parking are only provided on high-end vehicles.

 Mercedes S-Class sedan that can automatically follow the car ahead in stop-and-go-traffic and can take the wheel to support swing over obstacles, comes at a cost of $94,400 in the U.S. and could cost as much as $222,000.If the technology should have an great impact on the consumers, the price of sensors as well as the related systems will need to come down considerably.