Self-Driving Cars Can Now See Beneath The Road Surface With This New System

Aadhya Khatri - Feb 27, 2020


Self-Driving Cars Can Now See Beneath The Road Surface With This New System

The system of experts from MIT is capable of creating a map of what lies 1.8 meters beneath the self-driving cars in real-time

Self-driving cars still get confused when fog, snow, or other kinds of bad weather block road markings. To deal with this problem, experts at MIT is developing a system that allows cars to “see” through three meters deep underneath it.

Self-driving cars nowadays rely heavily on LIDAR (short for light detection sensor) and cameras to figure out its exact position on the road. The system is effective in most cases, but when bad weathers cover the needed road marks and signs, the cars might get confused and make the wrong decision, which can be a disaster for the vehicle and the passengers inside.

The solution of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab at the MIT is called LGPR (stand for Localizing Ground Penetrating Radar), which is capable of creating a map of what lies beneath the vehicle in real-time.

For a human, shoveling up a bunch of dirt under the road surface will have little help with driving better but for LGPR, it can use the information and compare it with the map it has already devised to pinpoint its exact location, without the help from laser or cameras.

self driving cars MIT
The system uses the information and compares it with the map it has already devised to pinpoint its exact location, without the help from laser or cameras

The team released a video of a car with this tech onboard on a private road covered with snow.

LGPR can also work inside a garage as the metal and concrete reinforcements below create a unique imprint for the system to recognize.

The next step for the team is to reduce the size of the system as currently, it has a width of 1.8 meters, too wide to be fixed on self-driving cars, wider than a suit of LIDAR sensors and cameras.

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