MIT Creates Car That Avoids Crashes, But Doesn't Otherwise Interfere
July 16, 2012 4:14 PM
comment(s) - last by
System is designed to be less-intrusive then full-autopilot
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(MIT) has developed a system called "intelligent co-pilot". Rather than aiming for fully autonomous artificial intelligence-driven driving, à la Google Inc.'s (
self-driving car project
, the new MIT study focuses on a "semi-autonomous" system.
I. Hunting for Safety
According to Sterling Anderson, a PhD student in MIT’s
Department of Mechanical Engineering
, most current commercially implemented algorithms hunt for static clues in their environment, such as the curb.
This isn't how the human driver functions.
Mr. Anderson, "The problem is, humans don’t think that way. When you and I drive, [we don’t] choose just one path and obsessively follow it. Typically you and I see a lane or a parking lot, and we say, ‘Here is the field of safe travel, here’s the entire region of the roadway I can use, and I’m not going to worry about remaining on a specific line, as long as I’m safely on the roadway and I avoid collisions."
To mirror that human mind-set the MIT team's algorithm uses so-called "homotopies" -- probable safe zones in the environment. The environment is triangulated, as the driver is drives to determine if the driver is crossing the border from safety to danger.
When such an event is detected, the car's AI takes over and steers the car around the obstacle, back into a homotopic (safe) zone.
The team has performed 1,200 trials in which they drive normally, but then abruptly head on a collision course with a construction barrel. Most times the car has been able to avoid the collision. The few incidents where there was a collision appear to have stemmed from camera failures.
The tests were performed on a course in Saline, Mich., a city in the state's southeast Washtenaw County.
Eaton Corp. intelligent truck technology manager Benjamin Saltsman praises the system for its minimalist approach. He says that the system uses less computation power and fewer sensors than fully autonomous alternatives from Google
Motor Comp. (
Comments Mr. Saltsman, "The implications of [Anderson's] system is it makes it lighter in terms of sensors and computational requirements than what a fully autonomous vehicle would require. This simplification makes it a lot less costly, and closer in terms of potential implementation."
II. Next -- Using a Smartphone
Mr. Anderson isn't completely satisfied with the system, however, as he fears it could lure beginning drivers to rely on the collision avoidance as a crutch and perform more risky maneuvers. On the flip side of the coin experienced drivers may be frustrated with the system for overriding dangerous maneuvers.
Still, he's convinced the technology may be eventually fine tuned to be relatively pleasing for the masses and save lives.
Fresh off a presentation at the
Intelligent Vehicles Symposium
in Spain, hosted by the Polytechnic School of the
University of Alcalá
in Madrid, Spain, the team is working to scale down their invention to an even simpler system.
Mr. Anderson and Karl Iagnemma, a principal research scientist in MIT’s
Robotic Mobility Group
, the other author of the work, will next look to use a dashboard mounted smartphone (which offers a camera, accelerometer, and gyroscope) to perform identical collision detection.
The MIT researchers next want to make the system capable of running
on a cell-phone using only its minimal sensors.
The ongoing research is funded by grants from the
United States Army Research Office
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: One barrel?
7/17/2012 2:53:59 PM
I say require ALL vehicles to be automated on the freeway. I for one welcome our new smartphone/Google/driving overlords.
"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
Ford Adds Perpendicular Park Assist, Traffic Jam Assist to Its Portfolio
June 26, 2012, 7:15 PM
Google Developing Self-Piloted Cars
October 11, 2010, 7:22 AM
Cadillac ELR is Priced Out of Its League According to Consumer Reports
December 11, 2013, 11:51 AM
OC Dealership Sells Tesla Model S For $103K Worth of Bitcoins
December 9, 2013, 12:01 PM
Ford Ponders Diesel, Hybrid Versions of the Mustang to Meet Fuel Efficiency Guidelines
December 9, 2013, 10:12 AM
House Proposes 15 Cent Federal Gas Tax Increase
December 9, 2013, 10:00 AM
Man Arrested for Using 5 Cents Worth of Electricity to Charge Nissan Leaf at Middle School
December 4, 2013, 8:00 PM
Volvo to Test Self-Driving Cars on Public Roads in 2017
December 3, 2013, 8:17 PM
Most Popular Articles
Experts: Masturbation Prevents Cancer, Diabetes, Insomnia, and Depression
December 6, 2013, 2:01 PM
Hackers Nab 2 Million Login Credentials from Facebook, Gmail, Twitter
December 5, 2013, 1:00 PM
Thieves Steal Truck with Cobalt-60 Onboard in Mexico, Will Die "Without a Doubt" from Exposure
December 5, 2013, 12:04 PM
Report: Windows 8.2 Revives Start Menu, Runs Metro Apps in Desktop Mode
December 10, 2013, 2:56 PM
U.S. Navy Fires "XFC" Drone from Underwater Submarine
December 6, 2013, 2:35 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Justice Leaks Details of Next HTC One Two Flagship Phone
Dec 5, 2013, 4:04 PM
Global Cyber Espionage Concerns Reveal Growing Cyber Armies
Nov 29, 2013, 11:04 AM
Is The Period Becoming an Expression of Anger?
Nov 26, 2013, 2:02 PM
NSA and Congress -- You Will Never Kill the Constitution, It's an Idea
Nov 10, 2013, 2:00 PM
AT&T Explores $100B+ USD Deal to Acquire Vodafone's European Operations
Nov 4, 2013, 7:34 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2013 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information