Inside Unmanned Systems

JUN-JUL 2016

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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30 unmanned systems inside   June/July 2016 LAND INFRASTRUCTURE gies like radio frequency ID tags to commu- nicate with vehicles about the speed limit, Scharer said. There are already sensors in the roads that tell drivers about traffic conditions, and Kurfess sees a future where the infrastructure will give driverless cars details about danger- ous road conditions. If the road coming up is icy or slick, vehicles will be alerted so they can prepare. The vehicles will also know whether salt has been put down on icy roads, and will even be able to communicate back to the infra- structure if more salt is needed. "The communication system has to be ro- bust," Mueller said. "It has to have elements of security for vehicles to use it. A large amount of information has to go over the communication infrastructure." Infrastructure Upgrades Inconsistency in the roadway infrastructure is another challenge software developers face— not only around the world but also across the U.S. As you travel from state to state, you might find different sized speed limit signs or some roads with dashed lines to separate exit lanes from the rest of the highway. This is something most drivers likely don't notice, but it could cause problems for autono- mous vehicles. These vehicles must be equipped to read every sign and detect every lane marking. Maintaining signs and robust lane markings as well as making and keeping them consistent are among the infrastructure improvements that would benefit driverless cars, Scharer said. The quality of the roads and consistent traf- fic lights are also important, Muharemovic said. Most traffic lights are vertical with red on top, orange in the middle and green on the bottom. The problem comes when these lights are horizontal. Now, all three colors are next to each other, but the car's algorithm looks for certain colors in a certain positon. "This is very challenging for us to determine, but how do we standardize?" Muharemovic said. "We don't necessarily have to change the layout, but if we can communicate vehicle-to- infrastructure this would help us. If the roads are in good quality, the lane markers standard and the exit and traffic signs placed in similar The frst AUTONOMOUS SHUTTLE BUSES, known as WEpods, recently completed initial testing in the Netherlands. Two WEpods are still providing service in the Dutch province of Gelderland, running between Wageningen and Ede as part of a community project in cooperation with the Dutch province of Gelderland and students from the Wageningen University & Research Centre and Delft University of Technology (TU Delft). The fully electrical shuttles have a maximum speed of 40 km/h (25 km/h during the test phase) and a range of about 100 km per charge. For this project, the Netherlands frm Mapscape provided the Navigation Data Standard (NDS) map database with comprehensive road geometry data—a data set offering more detailed information for objects and locations than standard map information. The data from Mapscape was used by Elektrobit (EB), a German frm, to generate precise positioning information. As the shuttle drives, the data is continuously updated and interpreted by Elektrobit's ADASIS v2 Reconstructor software module into information the shuttle can use—information that helps the vehicle prepare and respond to real-world situations. "They're starting to ramp up numbers and extend the geography they're operating in," said Walter Sullivan, head of EB's innovation lab. "Eventually the idea is customers will be able to use their phone to request a shuttle and it will come and get them. One of the unique pieces of the system is it operates like an airport shuttle but not on a fxed route. It optimizes its own route from one end of its operating boundary to the other as passengers request pickups. DRIVERLESS WEpods HIT THE STREETS Photos courtesy of Elektrobit "IT COULD BE A TOTALLY DIFFERENT OUTLOOK when we have full autonomy in say 20 years. There are a lot of unknowns between standards and vehicle manufacturers. Our forward vision is continually fuid." Michele Mueller, senior project manager for connected and automated vehicles at the Michigan Department of Transportation

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