Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Engineers Develop Intelligent "Copilot" for Cars

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Engineers Develop Intelligent "Copilot" for Cars

Article excerpt

A driver remotely steers a modified vehicle around barrels and cones in an open field until a researcher tells him to steer the vehicle into a barrel. But instead of crashing, the vehicle steers itself around the obstacle, giving control back to the driver only after the danger has passed.

The "brains" behind this maneuver is a new semiautonomous safety system developed by Sterling Anderson, a PhD engineering student, and Karl Iagnemma, a research scientist, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The system uses an onboard camera and laser rangefinder to identify hazards in a vehicle's environment. The team devised an algorithm that acts like an intelligent copilot, instructing the system to take the wheel if the driver is about to exit a safe zone.

"The real innovation is enabling the car to share [control] with you," Anderson says. "If you want to drive, it'll just make sure you don't hit anything."

The system reportedly has advantages over the fully autonomous self-driving cars developed by Google and Ford, which are loaded with expensive sensors and require vast amounts of computation to plan out safe routes, according to an expert. …

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