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Monday, January 16, 2012

Autopilots take over Driver Seats

Driverless cars are still rare on the streets of the world, but the investments in research and development of autonomous cars are starting to pay off .  Automobile nation Germany had demonstrated its engineering excellence since the DARPA Challenges. The German AutoNOMOS team reached the semi-finals of the DARPA Urban Challenge 2007.

are In 2011 France and UK demonstrated their ambitions to become players in the global autonomous car race.
Autopilot System, Stähle 
France has entered the global autonomous vehicle race with a modified Renault Grand Espace developed by research company IFSTTAR and engineers from the ESIGELEC school in Rouen. The car is equipped with a German Stahle autonomous driving system,  including a robot that works as actuator system to an overlaid host automation system and executes scaled actuator commands through its integration interface.  The car has also sensors, cameras, and a control bay on the roof.  A GPS RTK and an iXSea inertial unit guides the vehicle with data acquired and processed using the RTMaps multisensor engine. There are three cameras to monitor the vehicle's surroundings and one forward-facing used to track road lanes and markings. A LIDAR unit at the front detects other cars and pedestrians.

Off-Road and Driverless in Oxford, UK
In Oxford, UK, a modified Bowler Wildcat vehicle, one of the most advanced autonomous vehicles in the world, is  used by academics to continue research into vehicle autonomy and robotics thanks to a research partnership between BAE Systems and Oxford University.  The Wildcat driverless vehicle has been the subject of over five years of research and development by scientists at BAE Systems Advanced Technology Centre at Filton in Bristol.
The Wildcat vehicle is a 4x4 off-road production car from Bowler, modified by BAE System's engineers. The vehicle is equipped with computer controlled steering servos, an secondary braking system and a hotline into the vehicle's engine management system for speed control. In addition, wireless data links, GPS and laser ranging sensors were installed so that the Wildcat could receive instructions, navigate and avoid hitting obstacles.
For more information about driverless car projects see also trend report 2011 and Global Robotics Brain.

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