Sensors and the Self Driving Car

by William Mattar | December 19th, 2017

According to a New York Times report, Delphi Automotive, an Israeli company known for producing the sensors that help cars recognize roadway obstacles, has partnered with Mobileye, a vendor of computer-vision technology.

The collaboration, according to chairman and chief technology of Mobileye, “will accelerate the time to market” by enabling carmakers to produce autonomous vehicles “without the need for huge capital investments.”

The report contrasts the Mobileye-Delphi partnership with the approach of the Tesla and Google, giants in “an increasingly crowded filed” in the race to build self-driving cars:

Not so long ago, it seemed that Google and, separately, the electric carmaker Tesla Motors had clear leads over the traditional auto industry in developing technology for autonomous vehicles.

Google has been testing its self-driving cars for a few years. Tesla grabbed the spotlight for a time after introducing its Autopilot feature in the fall of 2015, although a fatal accident in May 2016 of a driver using the system has made clear that Autopilot is still far from being a self-driving car technology.

But efforts to create self-driving cars are evolving so rapidly that traditional car-makers see an opening.

The rapid progression of self-driving car technology is undeniable. The report cites the initiatives of Ford,  which said “it would have a fully autonomous vehicle – with no steering wheels or pedals – operating in a ride-hailing service like Uber within five years” and expectations to “have 30 self-driving test cars on public roads by the end of this year and up to 90 by the end of 2017.”

Companies like Honda, however, appear to have taken a more guarded position. The report cites the chief engineer at Honda’s research center in Southfield, Michigan:

Sensing technology is getting better and better, but it’s not perfect . . . Radar or a camera can only see what it can see . .  .But what’s around the corner or behind a building? You need V2V for that.

“V2V,” of course, stands for “vehicle-to-vehicle” communication devices that permit vehicles to transmit their position and speed to other vehicles.

An ZDNet article, Top self-driving car firms join forces to deliver fully autonomous system by 2019” heralds the Mobileye-Delphi partnership: “By combining Delphi’s driving behavior modeling with Mobileye’s artificial intelligence research, the firms hope to develop systems utilizing more advanced sensors and capable of handling more complex challenges when driving.”

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