Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .




CAR TECH
Self-driving golf carts
by Staff Writers
Boston MA (SPX) Sep 03, 2015


File image.

At the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems in September, members of the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) and their colleagues will describe an experiment conducted over six days at a large public garden in Singapore, in which self-driving golf carts ferried 500 tourists around winding paths trafficked by pedestrians, bicyclists, and the occasional monitor lizard.

The experiments also tested an online booking system that enabled visitors to schedule pickups and drop-offs at any of 10 distinct stations scattered around the garden, automatically routing and redeploying the vehicles to accommodate all the requests.

"We would like to use robot cars to make transportation available to everyone," says Daniela Rus, the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Professor in MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and a senior author on the conference paper. "The idea is, if you need a ride, you make a booking, maybe using your smartphone or maybe on the Internet, and the car just comes."

The researchers asked participants in the experiment to fill out a brief questionnaire after their rides. Some 98 percent said that they would use the autonomous golf carts again, and 95 percent said that they would be more likely to visit the gardens if the golf carts were a permanent fixture.

SMART is a collaboration between MIT and the National Research Foundation of Singapore. With lead researchers drawn from both MIT and several Singaporean universities - chiefly the National University of Singapore and the Singapore University of Technology and Design - the program offers four-year graduate fellowships that cover tuition for students at the affiliated schools, as well as undergraduate and postdoctoral research fellowships.

Joining Rus on the paper are Emilio Frazzoli, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT; Marcel Ang, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at the National University of Singapore; and 16 SMART students, postdocs, and staff members, from both the U.S. and Asia.

Less is more
What distinguishes the SMART program's autonomous vehicles is that "we are taking a minimalist solution to the self-driving-car problem," Rus says. "The vehicles are instrumented, but they are not as heavily instrumented as the DARPA vehicles [competitors in the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's autonomous-vehicle challenge] were, nor as heavily instrumented as, say, the Google car. We believe that if you have a simple suite of strategically placed sensors and augment that with reliable algorithms, you will get robust results that require less computation and have less of a chance to get confused by 'fusing sensors,' or situations where one sensor says one thing and another sensor says something different."

Accordingly, the golf carts' sensors consist entirely of off-the-shelf laser rangefinders mounted at different heights - since unlike the more sophisticated rangefinders deployed in some other autonomous vehicles, they measure distance only in a plane - and a camera.

Algorithmically, one of the keys to the system is what the researchers call the "dynamic virtual bumper," which can be thought of as a cylinder surrounding the vehicle's planned trajectory. The width and length of the cylinder are a function of the vehicle's velocity. When an obstacle enters the cylinder, the vehicle's onboard computer redraws the cylinder to exclude it. That could mean changing the trajectory, reducing the velocity, or both.

The short run
In the experiments, the golf carts received no special treatment; they jockeyed for position on the garden's paths along with everyone else. But according to Rus, the obstacle-collision system encountered only one difficulty, when a large, slow-moving monitor lizard crossed the path of one of the golf carts. "It was this stop-and-go game over who's going to do what," Rus says.

Of course, the golf carts had the advantage of moving relatively slowly - a top speed of only about 15 mph - which gave their algorithms more time to process sensor data and recalculate trajectories. But while the experiment was envisioned chiefly as a step on the path toward self-driving cars, Rus says that relatively slow autonomous golf carts could have their own practical applications.

"If you think about who needs rides," she says, "it's fast enough for the elderly population who no longer have a driver's license and live in special areas where maybe their friend lives a mile away, and that's too far to walk. If they want to go to the doctor or shopping, they can use the self-driving golf carts because that's within some comfortable distance."

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

.


Related Links
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Car Technology at SpaceMart.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





CAR TECH
Hong Kongers fight to save beloved trams
Hong Kong (AFP) Sept 2, 2015
A controversial new proposal to take Hong Kong's beloved trams off the streets has sparked a wave of anger from residents who fear losing track of the city's past. Known as "ding-dings" for the sound of their bells, trams have served the northern coastline of the city's main island for more than 110 years and still carry around 200,000 passengers a day. As development changes the face o ... read more


CAR TECH
Russia Gets Ready for New Moon Landing

ASU chosen to lead lunar CubeSat mission

Russia's moon landing plan hindered by financial distress

Research May Solve Lunar Fire Fountain Mystery

CAR TECH
ASU instruments help scientists probe ancient Mars atmosphere

Opportunity brushes a rock and conducts in-situ studies

Destination Red Planet: Will Billionaires Fund a Private Mars Colony

One year and counting: Mars isolation experiment begins

CAR TECH
In Virginia, TechShop lets 'makers' tinker, innovate

New Russian Spaceship to Be Ready Ahead of Schedule

Annoying? US 'That Kissed the Moon' Has to Pay Russia for Space Flights

French woman wins disability grant for 'gadget allergy'

CAR TECH
Progress for Tiangong 2

China rocket parts hit villager's home: police, media

China's "sky eyes" help protect world heritage Angkor Wat

China's space exploration potential has US chasing its own tail

CAR TECH
First Dane in space begins long trip to repositioned ISS

ISS Crew Redocks Soyuz Spacecraft

CALET docks on the International Space Station

Astronaut Andreas to try sub-millimetre precision task on Earth from orbit

CAR TECH
FCube facility enters operations with fueling of Soyuz Fregat upper stage

SpaceX delays next launch after blast

GSLV Launches India's Latest Communication Satellite GSAT-6

Preparations with both passengers ongoing at Kourou

CAR TECH
Earth's mineralogy unique in the cosmos

A new model of gas giant planet formation

Planetary pebbles were building blocks for the largest planets

Solar System formation don't mean a thing without that spin

CAR TECH
Paper tubes make stiff origami structures

Long-sought chiral anomaly detected in crystalline material

Metallic gels produce tunable light emission

An engineered surface unsticks sticky water droplets




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.