Life Motoring

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Road ahead is clear for self-drive cars

Declan O'Byrne

Published 20/02/2013 | 04:00

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THE practical reality of self-driving cars is much nearer than you might think, according to top researchers who have developed a laser-guided vehicle.

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The breakthrough by the Oxford University experts uses much lower-cost technology to record and remember regular journeys, such as the commute to work and the school run.

They reckon they can produce a low-cost system within 10 years. As you know, many companies have been testing driverless vehicle technology. However, their systems are more intricate and expensive.

Those behind the Oxford RobotCar UK project are reported to be hoping to test the technology on the road. The complete system costs around €7,500 but the breakthrough could bring the price of the technology down to €130.

The system produces a 3D image of the route by using lasers at the front and a camera on the roof. The sensors map the route, at the same time detecting unfamiliar objects such as pedestrians.

Such technologies are being tested by car makers as well as technology companies on a global scale.

We are already familiar with cars that can park themselves so it is really a matter of extending the applications.

Key to the entire enterprise is an autonomous, safe, affordable car. Google's self-drive test car has 300,000 computer-driven accident miles clocked up.

Irish Independent

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