Swiss Researchers Make Autonomous Vehicles Safer By Using WiFi And Shared Sensor Data
Th researchers are currently looking at having automated vehicles travel in convoys. The convoys are managed by an algorithm that collects data from each vehicle's sensors and sends it to other vehicles in the vicinity via WiFi
Alcherio Martinoli, the head of EPFL’s Distributed Intelligent Systems and Algorithms Laboratory (DISAL), remarked, “We have been working on this type of distributed control algorithm for around ten years. Simply put, the idea is to find a way for agents that are not particularly clever – robots or cars – to work together and achieve complex group behavior”.
The researchers, as part of the AutoNet 2030 project, were able to get their vehicles and software out on the road. The final demonstration occurred this past October on Sweden’s AstaZero test track. The researchers used three vehicles: one automated truck, one automated car, and one manually-driven vehicle. The vehicle driven by a human being was equipped with GPS and laser sensors. There was also a human-machine interface which gave the driver instructions on how to join the convoy. The test was a success.
This technology is still years away from becoming ubiquitous. EPFL scientist Guillaume Jornod remarked, however, that “We are hoping that, with a rise in demand, car-makers will come up with ever cheaper solutions for converting legacy vehicles, that they will coordinate their efforts with the community working on the Internet of things, and that we will be able to deploy and improve this multi-lane convoy system for heterogeneous vehicles.”