autodrive-car

Scientist’s long time dreams that a car drive itself. That dreams comes true now. Oxford University team created a robot car controlled by an iPad. This team interested with futuristic vehicles.

 

The team has built this RobotCar with Nissan Leaf electric car,has small cameras and lasers built into its chasis.

When the car is driven manually the lasers and cameras act as its ‘eyes’, mapping a 3D model of its surroundings, which is fed into a computer stored in the boot.

 

The car can then ‘remember’ roads and suburbs, allowing it to drive itself along familiar routes.

It asks the driver via an iPad on the dashboard whether they want to engage the autopilot and, at a touch of the screen, the car takes over the controls.

A laser under the front bumper scans the direction of travel around 13 times per second for obstacles, such as pedestrians, cyclists, or other cars, up to 164ft ahead and in an 85 degree field of view.

If the car sees an obstacle, it slows and comes to a controlled stop. The driver can also tap the brake pedal, like in current cruise control systems, to regain control from the computer at any time.

The scientists behind the system say it is far superior to conventional satellite navigation because it is much more precise – reading to within a fraction of an inch compared with a few yards with sat-nav – and the car does not need a satellite reference to know where it is.

At £5,000, the prototype is also far cheaper than any other currently in development – and the aim is to produce one for as little as £100 in the near future.

Project leader Professor Paul Newman, of Oxford University’s engineering science department, said that the technology would be especially valuable for drivers who perform regular routes, such the daily commute or school run.

He added: ‘We are working on a low-cost auto drive navigation system that doesn’t depend on GPS, done with discreet sensors that are getting cheaper all the time.

‘It’s easy to imagine that this kind of technology could be in a car you could buy.

‘Instead of imagining some cars driving themselves all of the time we should imagine a time when all cars can drive themselves some of the time. The sort of very low-cost, low-footprint autonomy we are developing is what’s needed for everyday use.’

Already there are cars that can park themselves and last year Google announced its self-driving car saying that it had covered more than 140,000 miles on American roads.

The Oxford car differs from Google’s by having fewer sensors and relying more heavily on an on-board three dimensional map of streets.

The basic map could potentially be maintained by local councils or highway authorities and regularly updated by vehicles.

For insurance, legal and health and safety reasons, the RobotCar has so far only been allowed to drive on private roads around the scientists’ Begbroke Science Park on autopilot. But they are currently in talks with the Department of Transport to see how and when it could be used on public roads.

The next stage of their research, which is part funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and is a collaboration between the university and sponsors Nissan, Guidance Navigation and Mira, will be to make the car recognise and understand complex traffic flows and make decisions on which routes to take.

The Department for Transport estimates that cost of congestion will rise to £24billion a year by 2025 so vehicles, like this prototype, could help alleviate some of those costs by avoiding jams and giving the driver time off to do other tasks.

Prof Newman added: ‘While there’s lots more work to do, it shows the potential for this kind of affordable robotic system that could make our car journeys safer, more efficient and more pleasant for drivers.’

For more information visit www.robotcar.org.uk