– By Marc Sibbald –
The session was called ‘ADAS to Autonomous’ and I left being blown away by the amount of effort, development and live testing that is currently being conducted by Mobileye to achieve autonomous driving.
Jason Bloom was the presenter from Mobileye and his first statement was about road deaths. He quoted statistics of 1.25 million deaths and 20-50 injuries on roads globally. Then he made it clear that eliminating deaths on the road was the goal of his company. And that if they could alert drivers two seconds before an impending collision thousands of lives would saved.
Mobileye as 40 million vehicles around the world using their technology, which is focused on vision, collecting images for machines to learn what roads, cars, pedestrians and street signs look like. They are working on mapping roads to within 10cm of accuracy.
Some of the real world uses of this data before autonomous driving arrives is to locate parking and identify road damage such as potholes.
The images are harvested, aggregated and then localised to provide real time information. Identifying vacant parking spots in crowded cities and relaying live data to drivers can save thousands of man hours and CO2 emissions just by making the process more efficient.
The best part of the presentation was watching the videos of autonomous test vehicles. Anyone that doubts the technology, or the likely commercialisation in the near future, should see this presentation. Watching Level 5 autonomous vehicle navigate intersections and merging lanes was amazing. Bloom showed live in-vehicle images as well as the computer interpretations on the surrounding vehicles, traffic signals and street signs of vehicles in real world scenarios.
The test vehicle has 12 cameras providing a 360 degree view of the road and conditions. Mobileye has developed a logic for autonomous driving call RSS (Responsibility-sensitive safety model). The vehicle will balance safety decisions with the need to main traffic flow which means it will take an assertive approach to driving in all road conditions. It will take actions that reflect human driving by actively, rather than passively, merging or changing lanes.
Getting drivers to trust the system is the main non-technological hurdle governments and vehicle manufacturers face. And this is where becomes ADAS the stepping stone to autonomous.
New vehicles today are bordering on Level 4 autonomous with radar cruise control, lane keeping assistance and auto emergency braking. As it becomes cheaper and available in all cars, people will get to experience it everyday and become more comfortable with the concept of a fully autonomous vehicle.