Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Demonstrating a driverless future

25.06.2014

Carnegie Mellon researchers bring NSF-funded autonomous vehicle to D.C. to show promise of driverless cars

In the coming decades, we will likely commute to work and explore the countryside in autonomous, or driverless, cars capable of communicating with the roads they are traveling on. A convergence of technological innovations in embedded sensors, computer vision, artificial intelligence, control and automation, and computer processing power is making this feat a reality.


Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University demonstrate the autonomous vehicle they developed with NSF support at an event in September 2013. Their driverless car arrived in Washington, D.C., in June 2014 for a demonstration at the Capitol.

Credit: Carnegie Mellon University

This week, researchers from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) will mark a significant milestone, demonstrating one of the most advanced autonomous vehicles ever designed, capable of navigating on urban roads and highways without human intervention. The car was brought to Washington, D.C., at the request of Congressman Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania, who participated in a 33-mile drive in the autonomous vehicle between a Pittsburgh suburb and the city's airport last September.

Developed with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Department of Transportation, DARPA and General Motors, the car is the result of more than a decade of research and development by scientists and engineers at CMU and elsewhere. Their work has advanced the underlying technologies--sensors, software, wireless communications and network integration--required to make sure a vehicle on the road is as safe--and ultimately safer--without a driver than with one. (In the case of the Washington, D.C., demonstration, an engineer will be on hand to take the wheel if required.)

"This technology has been enabled by remarkable advances in the seamless blend of computation, networking and control into physical objects--a field known as cyber-physical systems," said Cora Marrett, NSF deputy director. "The National Science Foundation has long supported fundamental research that has built a strong foundation to enable cyber-physical systems to become a reality--like Dr. Raj Rajkumar's autonomous car."

Raj Rajkumar, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and robotics at CMU, is a leader not just in autonomous vehicles, but in the broader field of cyber-physical systems, or CPS. Such systems are already in use in sectors such as agriculture, energy, healthcare and advanced manufacturing, and they are poised to make an impact in transportation as well.

"Federal funding has been critical to our work in dealing with the uncertainties of real-world operating conditions, making efficient real-time usage of on-board computers, enabling vehicular communications and ensuring safe driving behaviors," Rajkumar said.

In 2007, Carnegie Mellon's then state-of-the-art driverless car, BOSS, took home the $2 million grand prize in the DARPA Urban Challenge, which pitted the leading autonomous vehicles in the world against one another in a challenging, urban environment. The new vehicle that Rajkumar is demonstrating in Washington, D.C., is the successor to that vehicle.

Unlike BOSS, which was rigged with visible antennas and large sensors, CMU's new car--a Cadillac SRX--doesn't appear particularly "smart." In fact, it looks much like any other car on the road. However, top-of-the-line radar, cameras, sensors and other technologies are built into the body of the vehicle. The car's computers are tucked away under the floor.

The goal of CMU's researchers is simple but important: To develop a driverless car that can decrease injuries and fatalities on roads. Automotive accidents result in 1.2 million fatalities annually around the world and cost citizens and governments $518 billion. It is estimated that 90 percent of those accidents are caused by human error.

"Because computers don't get distracted, sleepy or angry, they can actually keep us much safer--that is the promise of this technology," Rajkumar said. "Over time, the technology will augment automotive safety significantly."

In addition to controlling the steering, speed and braking, the autonomous systems in the vehicle also detect and avoid obstacles in the road, including pedestrians and bicyclists.

In their demonstration in D.C., cameras in the vehicle will visually detect the status of traffic lights and respond appropriately. In collaboration with the D.C. Department of Transportation, the researchers have even added a technology that allows some of the traffic lights in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington to wirelessly communicate with the car, telling it the status of the lights ahead.

NSF has supported Rajkumar's work on autonomous vehicles since 2005, but it is not the only project of this kind that NSF supports. In addition to CMU's driverless car, NSF supports Sentry, an autonomous underwater vehicle deployed at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and several projects investigating unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) including those in use in search and rescue and disaster recovery operations. Moreover, NSF supports numerous projects that advance the fundamental theories and applications that underlie all autonomous vehicles and other cyber-physical systems.

In the last five years, NSF has invested over $200 million in CPS research and education, building a foundation for the smart systems of the future.

-NSF-

Media Contacts
Aaron Dubrow, NSF, 703-292-4489, adubrow@nsf.gov
Byron Spice, Carnegie Mellon University, 412-268-9068, bspice@cs.cmu.edu

Principal Investigators
Raj Rajkumar, Carnegie Mellon University, 412-268-8707, rajkumar@andrew.cmu.edu

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2014, its budget is $7.2 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

Aaron Dubrow | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=131836&org=NSF&from=news

Further reports about: Artificial Intelligence CMU CPS DARPA NSF Transportation grants processing roads wireless communications

More articles from Automotive Engineering:

nachricht Newly developed diamond transistor expected to reduce energy consumption in automobiles
20.02.2015 | Waseda University

nachricht First series production vehicle with software control
19.12.2014 | Siemens AG

All articles from Automotive Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Lizard activity levels can help scientists predict environmental change

Research study provides new tools to assess warming temperatures

Spring is here and ectotherms, or animals dependent on external sources to raise their body temperature, are becoming more active. Recent studies have shown...

Im Focus: Hannover Messe 2015: Saving energy with smart façades

Glass-fronted office buildings are some of the biggest energy consumers, and regulating their temperature is a big job. Now a façade element developed by Fraunhofer researchers and designers for glass fronts is to reduce energy consumption by harnessing solar thermal energy. A demonstrator version will be on display at Hannover Messe.

In Germany, buildings account for almost 40 percent of all energy usage. Heating, cooling and ventilating homes, offices and public spaces is expensive – and...

Im Focus: Nonoxide ceramics open up new perspectives for the chemical and plant engineering

Outstanding chemical, thermal and tribological properties predestine silicon carbide for the production of ceramic components of high volume. A novel method now overcomes the procedural and technical limitations of conventional design methods for the production of components with large differences in wall thickness and demanding undercuts.

Extremely hard as diamond, shrinking-free manufacturing, resistance to chemicals, wear and temperatures up to 1300 °C: Silicon carbide (SiSiC) bundles all...

Im Focus: Experiment Provides the Best Look Yet at 'Warm Dense Matter' at Cores of Giant Planets

In an experiment at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, scientists precisely measured the temperature and structure of aluminum as...

Im Focus: Energy-autonomous and wireless monitoring protects marine gearboxes

The IPH presents a solution at HANNOVER MESSE 2015 to make ship traffic more reliable while decreasing the maintenance costs at the same time. In cooperation with project partners, the research institute from Hannover, Germany, has developed a sensor system which continuously monitors the condition of the marine gearbox, thus preventing breakdowns. Special feature: the monitoring system works wirelessly and energy-autonomously. The required electrical power is generated where it is needed – directly at the sensor.

As well as cars need to be certified regularly (in Germany by the TÜV – Technical Inspection Association), ships need to be inspected – if the powertrain stops...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

World Conference On Regenerative Medicine 2015: Registration And Abstract Submission Now Open

25.03.2015 | Event News

University presidents from all over the world meet in Hamburg

19.03.2015 | Event News

10. CeBiTec Symposium zum Big Data-Problem

17.03.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA covers Super Typhoon Maysak's rainfall, winds, clouds, eye

01.04.2015 | Earth Sciences

Quantum teleportation on a chip

01.04.2015 | Information Technology

Galaxy Clusters Formed as 'Fireworks'

01.04.2015 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>