What's the Latest Development?

Engineers at Oxford University, UK, have created an automated driving system that is currently being tested on private roads around the university. Currently installed on a Nissan Leaf, the car will will halt for pedestrians, and could take over the tedious parts of driving such as negotiating traffic jams or regular commutes. "The system has been demonstrated on public roads—and as long as there is a licensed driver in the driver’s seat, 'there's no obvious legal barrier to using it on roads now,' said a professor working on the project. 'It’s essentially an advanced driver assistance system.'"

What's the Big Idea?

In order to navigate roads correctly and not pose a danger to other drivers, bikers or pedestrians, it is essential that automated cars know exactly where they are. So rather than use GPS, which can lose signal inside "urban canyons" created by tall buildings and is only accurate to a couple meters, the British automated system uses 3D laser scanning to build up a map of its surroundings, which is accurate to a few centimeters. "The Oxford system...could be extended so that each car downloads data from passing cars, or over the internet via 3G and 4G connections to a central system."

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