One Step Closer To Cars That Really Can Drive Themselves

from the internal-and-external-sensors dept

Last week we mentioned a Chinese car company that was running a demonstration of a car that could drive itself — an idea that’s been talked about for years. Most attempts to do this rely on a series of sensors in the vehicle itself. But, these days, there’s really no reason to just limit it to on-board sensors. Nissan has been at work in Japan trying to build a system that takes data from road sensors installed to monitor traffic to relay specific information to drivers. That is, rather than just telling you there’s traffic ahead, it can warn you that there’s a car approaching behind a turn, or warn you that an approaching traffic light is turning yellow or red if you’re not slowing down. Basically, rather than just relying on internal sensors, it’s taking information from sensors all around the environment as well to provide more real-time information. It’s not being designed for driverless cars yet (instead focused on giving additional information and warnings to drivers), but it wouldn’t be surprising to see it be used in the future for driverless cars. Of course, one interesting point raised in the article is whether or not these types of systems provide too much information for drivers. If you knew every time there was a car approaching on the left at an intersection, it could become overwhelming. The trick is to balance what information the driver needs to know, with what information it’s useful for the car’s computers to know.

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Comments on “One Step Closer To Cars That Really Can Drive Themselves”

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OneClick says:

Do your own work

This island nation, with numerous narrow roads often jammed with bumper-to-bumper traffic, has infrared sensors hanging from street poles relying information to car navigation equipment so drivers can map out the quickest routes.

Seems your answer was right there in the link provided by the poster of this article. Maybe next time you should read what’s actually there and see things with your eyes. You might find life to be much easier if you’re not always asking others to do the simple things for you.

Wait a tic! says:

Pot Kettle Black

You’re doing the same thing to Mr. OneClick and now I’m doing the same to you. You see how this works? Ignore those who annoy you and they’ll soon be gone. Something every web-poster should hold true.

Besides, he has a point. No matter how he states it. At least he didn’t treat him completely like a child. OneClick should just learn that about 80% of web surfers have ADD and need help with even the most simple of tasks.

Gopher Aspen says:

This has all been done ...

Modern rail systems use sensors in the tracks to communicate to engines and engineers how fast the train should be going, automatically applying brakes or power depending on track/weather conditions, congestion, grade, upcoming turns, stops, etc …

I don’t want something else controlling my Z06 when I take it out to stretch it’s muscles – or even my daily driver for that matter. I *enjoy* driving (which is why I will never buy an automatic trans vehicle again).

Improve public transport in America so people who don’t like to drive don’t feel compelled to – don’t clog up roadways with “intelligent” machinery.

Drunk Driver says:


*Alert! You are driving on the sidewalk! Alert!*
*Alert! You are hitting pedestrians! Alert!*
*Alert! The Police are attempting to stop you! Alert*

On a serious note… Who’s going to stop the people in charge of this technology from turning it into a ‘black box’ for cars? Who’s going to stop them from tracking every single trip you’ve taken? Will this system automatically report you for running a red light?

These are the things I wish to know!

The Original Just Me says:

JJ vs. OneClick Smackdown

I’m going to go with JJ on this one. I believe OneClick missed a technical point.

The sensors hanging from poles use IR to obtain their data. It says they bean this information to cars. It doesn’t say they use IR to bean the information, nor do I believe that would work. The effective operational distance for IR just isn’t long enough to prevent accidents, nor would it work in fog, snow, or around corners.

Scheffy says:

Probably a more beneficial application would be...

…on motorcycles. I’m betting a lot of people (myself included) would be willing to pay a chunk of change for a little handheld unit that would do that stuff if they decided to make them. Maybe incorporate them into a GPS unit? Considering any technological hurdles, it’s a longshot, and probably a long way off in either case. But it would be nice to get some advance warning of whether or not that cell-phone-blabbing, makeup-applying, Hummer-driving soccer mom bearing down behind me is showing any signs of slowing down, or if she’s just going to ignore the stop sign I’m at and punt me through the intersection like a helmeted beach ball. Not like something like that would ever happen…

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