Oxford University’s Mobile Robotics Group (MRG) is developing a low cost self-driving car. The car is said to be more advanced than the one currently Google is developing. The system can be incorporated on to other cars and the oxford team is using an electric Nissan LEAF.
Led by Prof. Paul Newman and Dr. Ingmar Posner, the 22-member MRG team’s goal is to develop an autonomous driving system that is more affordable and can be used on standard production cars. To achieve this, the system had to be largely self-contained without the need for beacons or other infrastructure. It also needs to use standard components and have a degree of artificial intelligence.
The self-drive system runs about £5,000 (Sh677,880) but the team says they plan to lower that to £500 (Sh6,7788.00) and eventually as low as £100 (Sh13557.60).
The self-drive system can navigate through the weather as well as avoid pedestrians and traffic. It can hit up to 64 KPH without a problem. The system uses 3D laser scanning to create a map of surroundings – it’s apparently accurate within a few centimeters (GPS is accurate to a few meters). Another interesting feature is that the cars can “talk” to one another as they pass by on the road. This is a method for them to instantly share their knowledge of previous trips with other cars to enhance the quality of map information in your car. There are also plans to let the cars auto-update over internet connection.
The automatic driving system will actually hand back controls to the driver if the system is finding it too difficult to drive itself.
Oxford, Google, BMW and a few others are all testing their prototypes. Who will win the race to the future of driving? Guess we are not far from knowing.