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October 26, 2013

Self driving car benefits and barriers

The ENO center for transportation has a study of what needs to be done to prepare for a nation of self driving cars.

Some day in the near future, cars will drive themselves. Traffic jams and deadly accidents will become obsolete.

37% of people would probably or definitely buy a self driving car if the costs were the same as a regular car. 20% would probably or definitely buy if the costs were $3000 more.

Barriers to self driving cars are costs and legal and insurance issues

Self driving cars that use cameras and off the shelf computing can already only add $7700 to the cost of a car and this could be brought down to $150.







Oxford University uses discrete stereo cameras to figure out the trajectory of the vehicle relative routes it has been driven on before. This movie shows the vehicle interpreting live images in the context of its memory of our test site at Begbroke Science Park. We can also use these cameras to detect the presence of obstacles - although vision is not great at night so we also use laser.




Static information consists of semantic information like the location and type of road markings and traffic signs, traffic lights, lane information, where curbs are, etc. This kind of information rarely changes and so a fairly accurate model can be built before the vehicle actually goes out. And it will last. Of course, you don’t really want to blindly believe such a prior map for all time - after all, things do change when conducting roadworks, for example - but knowing where you can expect to find certain things in the world is already incredibly helpful. The prior semantic map will get updated over time with information the vehicle actually gathers out there in the real world.



Dynamic information relates to potential obstacles which are either moving or stationary: cars, bicycles, pedestrians, etc. Knowing where they are - and where they are likely going to be in the near future - with respect to the planned vehicle trajectory is crucial for safe operation as well as for appropriate trajectory planning. Dynamic obstacles are detected and tracked using an off-the-shelf laser scanner. The system scans an 85 degree field of view ahead of the car 13 times a second to detect obstacles up to 50 metres ahead.



Mobileye celebrated the shipment of its 1 million EyeQ devices during fall of 2012 and expects to deliver 1.5M devices during 2013. Mobileye is expecting to launch camera-based semi-autonomous driving technologies as early as 2016/17 time-frame.

The Mobileye 5-Series is a revolutionary line of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems products. In addition to the wide range of driver safety solutions, the Mobileye 5-Series is integrated with Bluetooth connectivity. The Mobileye 5-Series provides the driver with audio-visual warning in critical real-time through Mobileye’s Smartphone Application.
Mobileye 5-Series features include:
* Forward Collision Warning (Mobileye FCW)
* Pedestrian Collision Warning (Mobileye PCW)
* Headway Monitoring Warning (Mobileye HMW)
* Lane Departure Warning (Mobileye LDW)
* Intelligent High-beam Control (IHC). Available for vehicles with a supporting infrastructure
* Speed Limit Indicator (SLI)

Requiring human supervision will be bad choice

Requiring humans to supervise self driving cars will not ultimately be the right choice.

The re­quirement of supervised driving is neither necessary nor can it be ful­filled for advanced driver assistance systems. But one could argue that the requirement does little harm. This is not the case. Wherever this rule is adopted, innovation will be curtailed. The safer and more convenient fea­tures of autonomous vehicles will only be available to the affluent and it will take a long time until most of the cars on the road are equipped with such technology. This means many more lives lost in traffic acci­dents, much less access to individual mobility for large groups of our popu­lation without driver’s license (such the elderly and the disabled), more waste of energy, resources, space for mobility.

Any country that adopts such rules will curtail innovation in car-sharing and new forms of urban inter-modal and electric mobility that become possible when autonomous vehicles mature that can drive without passen­gers.

It is obvious today that legislation that requires drivers to supervise ad­vanced driver assistance systems will not stand the test of time.


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