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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31 unmanned systems inside June/July 2016 ENGINEERING. PRACTICE. POLICY. positions with similar meanings that would be something we could use to better our vehicles." As agencies like MDOT work to prepare the roads for driverless cars, they're thinking about these very issues. For instance, once autono- mous cars are on the roads, the lanes might not need to be as wide as they are now, Mueller said. As vehicles become fully autonomous, human error should dwindle as a factor in accidents. Cars will be able to travel closer together, mak- ing it possible to fit more vehicles on the infra- structure network. And while vehicles will still need an area they can pull over during emer- gencies, there may be less need for guardrails. MDOT is working with auto manufacturers and suppliers in Michigan to help determine what changes must be made to make the tran- sition to driverless cars, Mueller said. They have to look at costs and how updates will im- pact their funding as well as their current op- erations center, and what changes can be made now versus sometime in the future. "It could be a totally dif ferent outlook when we have full autonomy in say 20 years," Mueller said. "There are a lot of unknowns between standards and vehicle manufactur- ers. Our forward vision is continually f luid." Mapping Autonomous vehicles need more information than human drivers, including how wide the road is, exactly where the stop line is at an in- tersection and the exact location of infrastruc- ture pieces on the side of the road, said Walter Sullivan, head of Elektrobit (EB) Innovation Lab, which develops embedded software for the automotive industry. Precise positioning is key for this to work; you must be able to ac- curately calculate the vehicle's position on the road. That's why Sullivan says providing higher definition mapping is so vital. "One of the things we think about for im- proved mapping information is with the sen- sors in the vehicle, radars, lidars and cameras, we can use those pieces to improve our under- standing of the vehicle," Sullivan said. "We use multiple sensors on the vehicle to understand where in the world the vehicle is at a very pre- cise level. For an autonomous car we need to know within centimeters." The WEpods are the frst autonomous shuttle buses. They're currently being tested in the Netherlands. One day people will be able to request the shuttle buses to pick them up via their phone.

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