Friday, February 26, 2016

Autonomous cars in the snow... and more

“The maps we create contain useful information about the 3D environment around the car, allowing it to localize even with a blanket of snow covering the ground.”


The autonomous vehicles create the maps while driving the test environment in favorable weather. Technologies automatically annotate features like traffic signs, trees, and buildings later. Then, when the vehicles cannot see the ground, they detect above-ground landmarks to pinpoint themselves on the map, which they then use to drive successfully."
A LIDAR IMAGE OF ANN ARBOR IN SNOW. (IMAGE CREDIT: RYAN WOLCOTT AND RYAN EUSTICE.)


via Michigan Today

An average Homo Sapiens driver from Texas would perform horribly on the snowy mountain road in Colorado? However, there is no law to keep him/her off the road. How about a robot that has passed the safety test in Sunny California. (My adviser, Dr. Mosleh, loved to tell us how he was saved by an 18-wheeler on snowy road in Maryland when he first took the job at UMD. I secretly think that is why he moved back to UCLA.)

I support safety regulation that hold a high bar for AV, especially in the beginning years. True unknown risks are introduced by new technology. ( I hate to say this, but still, unknown unknown.) Also the public's perception of the risk would be high, only because they are not familiar with the technology. As discussed in previous post, the regulation/test should address the risky scenarios, not just how many miles traveled. The methodology discussed in my Ph.D. dissertation might be expanded to generate the risky scenarios.

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