Self-driving cars are under debut and many more projects appear to demonstrate technologies for navigation without driver. Many more universities around the world are involved in self-driving car projects hoping that in the coming years we will have to choose between autonomous cars available on the market. This still remains a dream for at least next five to ten years, but this is another subject and we have to remain in the already developed prototypes.
In this article is no place for robotic cars like Google, BMW, Audi, or Mercedes and the reason is not that these self-driving cars would not fit in prototyping phase, in this article I make an overview of robotic cars developed in different research labs by universities around the world.
Shelley is a project based on Audi TT car, an autonomous car designed by a research team consisting of Stanford’s Dynamic Design Lab in collaboration with Volkswagen Electronics Research Lab. The result of this project is a self-driving car with few changes to the design and many more changes on driving mode. The robotic car was tested on a test track at a speed of 192 Km/h (120 mph) in autonomous mode and the result can be seen on graphic results that are very close to a professional driver on the same racing track.
At the base of the autonomous system are sensors and a complex algorithm that manage the functionalities of the car.
In prototyping phase and with full electric drivetrain, Cybergo is another self-driving car that can drive without any planning route. The car is specifically designed to be used for people transport with up to eight places. Back to technology, the robotic car uses a wide range of sensors located in key places in the car structure to detect any object and to avoid collisions.
The maximum speed of the car is 20 Km/h(12.4 mph) and this could be one of the reasons that Cybergo is built to be used in industrial areas and less on public roads.
The user has to introduce via screen available in the car the route where the car will drive itself.
Another German car is used to build one of the most advanced autonomous systems for cars called AutoNOMOS. The autonomous system is located into a VW Passat and is part of a research project with the aim to develop self-driving systems by a researcher team from University of Berlin. The GPS is one of the most present sensor used to recognize the position of the car while a laser scanner analyze the traffic situation and control the driving wheel for safe maneuvers. A wide range of sensors is located around the car structure including heat, accelerometer, or gyroscope sensors.
One challenge for the researchers was to develop an algorithm that can detect and understand the traffic light.
The project is under development and the final result could be seen in the coming years in a different series car that can drive on highways in autonomous mode while the driver can navigate on the Internet or closely follows the latest movie released.
University of Parma Robotic Car
Another university, another self-driving car that was tested on roads between Italy to China. This is an impressive distance for an autonomous car and University of Parma’s researchers lead the project.
Lines of the car were changed by sensors mounted to detect objects and obstacles from any angle. Up to four laser scanners and cameras provide information to a powerful computer for safety driving.
Since a computer has the control of the car, maximum speed is limited to 64 Km/h (40 mph) and the long journey between Italy and China took three months.
The biggest advantages for this long journey are the various climates and traffic conditions where the car was tested.
This is the offer provided by researchers from the University of Parma, an offer that enters into competition with other autonomous robotic car projects from universities around the world.