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(Cleveland Plain Dealer)   Ford engineers to unveil technology that allows cars to "drive themselves" during high traffic high stress situations   ( divider line 4
    More: Spiffy, traffic congestions, driverless cars, traffic  
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1451 clicks; posted to Geek » on 27 Jun 2012 at 11:39 AM (3 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2012-06-27 02:01:32 PM  
1 votes:

Gonz: for a chauffer to anywhere I want to go.

Although Portland, OR claims to have a good transit system, more than 90% of my weekly trips could not be done on it. About all it's good for is remote parking for downtown events. Even then it's triple the time or more and I have to drive to a station or bus route to start.
2012-06-27 12:30:57 PM  
1 votes:

grinding_journalist: How will it go about warning the driver, exactly? A beep? A voice saying "Stay in your lane, asshole?" Will the steering wheel vibrate? If I'm exhausted, I really doubt any of these things would alert me to the fact that I'm driving poorly. Do they not have those "rumble strips" on the sides of the highway where you live? Those things alert me REALLY quick if I'm straying out of my lane. Between highway lanes you say? Those little bumps/flaps on lane markers do a pretty good job too.

Well in my car it works as follows:

1. Angry beeping, as the car maintains the lane for you. If no response:
2. A/C unit blows cold air on your face. Servomotor tugs on your seatbelt. Car maintain lane. If no response:
3. Car's stereo set for max volume, bass set to max. 5 seconds of this. Car maintain lane. If no response:
4. Car uses side cameras to check the shoulder or the right most lane if no shoulder. Pulls over, puts on the 4 ways, uses Onstar to alert emergency services.

Step 3 used to be be my coworker yelling "Pay attention dumbass" but we had to change that for a demo. Eventually Step 3 will be a series of tones designed to have the max impact to wake a comatose person (don't ask me, someone else is figuring that one out).

You're totally right though, why would we ever want to design a system that gets the car onto the shoulder when the driver has a stroke or passes out for some reason? Also rumble strips don't come into play when you try to drift across lanes and sideswipe the guy beside you. ABS is standard because a lot of drivers had trouble remembering to pump the breaks. Now we're doing lane departure controls and rear end collision avoidance since a large portion of society has trouble keeping their focus when they reach for their Starbucks cup (and of course the unfortunate case of driver incapacitation).
2012-06-27 12:21:20 PM  
1 votes:

treesloth: It uses sonar? I ask because I'm genuinely ignernt-- wouldn't multiple cars, or even hundreds as might be found in a 6-wide traffic jam, tend to completely confuse a sonar system? If, say, a quarter of those cars are "pinging", that would create loads of ping originators, reflected responses, etc. Seems like using different ping frequencies would only help so much.

It's very low powered in the traffic jam scenario. In adaptive cruise, at least with the cruise we buy, the sonar starts out with a low powered ping and if it doesn't find anything it increases the range. So on the highway when 4 second following distance means a longer range it will generate a more powerful ping. When you're in gridlock it uses a lower range. So in theory your sonar only has the range to mess up the six guys near you in gridlock. However even that is pretty bad. With our first gen wireless wheel monitoring systems, you could pick up the wheels of the guy beside you in gridlock or the parking lot. That caused a lot of problems and no one is all that eager to do a run off of 2 million cars and then find out someone missed something during interference testing and we have a problem.

The general feeling in the industry is that drivers don't need to shout at each other to know what we're doing. We do it with lights, lines, and laws. Any kind of vehicle to vehicle communication requires massive processing power and that increases the cost of the vehicle. Active monitoring systems like sonar and radar also require more expensive modules and microprocessors. Whereas a standard fisheye camera with its IR filter removed (to give you a cheap IR camera) runs about three bucks (less if you buy bulk) and you don't have to dick around with frequency hopping or anything.

If you want a good idea of where the industry is going, go find a newish high end Volvo and check out all the cameras on the center mirror. Volvo's big problem is that they do each system independently, so they have six fricking cameras on the center mirror (okay, well only four normally) to do everything. The direction of the industry is one camera on the center mirror, one in the front grill, one above the plate in the rear, and one under each side mirror. We can stick in some IR illuminators at the fog light position and across the bumper and be in business.
2012-06-27 12:09:15 PM  
1 votes:
It's just basically adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning coupled together. The cruise control stops you from rear ending the guy in front of you, the lane departure keeps you between the lines. DENSO has it on some of their demo Tahoes as well and some Euro supplier who I forget has it was well. DENSO's system will even detect pedestrians, deer, and moose (not sure who picked moose as an animal for their 1.0 release), although it does suck at edge detection currently.

The big problem with Ford's system is the sonar. There are some concerns over whether it works when every single car in the gridlock is sending out sonar pings or radar scanning and crapping up the spectrum with noise. The real money maker will be the system that can do it all with IR cameras. Totally passive and IR cameras are damn cheap.

Lane detection systems need to be the next standard feature mandated by the government. One camera on each mirror to monitor the lane lines (and your blind spot as well, although if you'd just adjust your damn mirrors properly....) and one camera to watch your eyes. When the camera detects your eyes are focused on the center stack or your cup of coffee, the vehicle ignores your attempt to drift into the car next to you.

Eventually at some point we'll have industry standard paint markings on cars (that only the cameras can see). That way a camera will be able to look at a vehicle and see what portion of the vehicle it is looking up and detect how it is moving based on how that marking moves. Then all this will be even easier

/the big problem with lane departure right now is construction zones, where the old lines are kinda-sorta painting over and some new temp lines have been painted. The cameras are sensitive enough to pick up both sets and then the system has a fit. There are algorithms to get around this, but it is a really annoying edge case
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