CSIRO’s Data61 and Chinese firm ZongMu Technology are developing technology that will help overcome one of the biggest technical challenges in autonomous driving – giving vehicles human-like sight.
Under a new agreement with the organisations, autonomous vehicles will be equipped with computer vision, enabling them to see and understand the environment the way humans do, and react to hazards.
Data61’s Smart Vision Systems Group, led by Dr Nick Barnes, will work with ZongMu to develop algorithms to estimate the space between objects according to the vehicle’s motion and predict the potential hazards of moving objects.
“Computer vision is the technology that allows autonomous vehicles to determine the difference between what is pavement and what is a driveable road,” said Dr Barnes.
“Unlike laser sensors which rely on a series of points to identify hazards, computer vision offer richer information and deeper understanding of road scenes through 3D image analysis, enabling safer automated driving.”
Data61’s senior research scientist, Dr Shaodi You, said the technology would allow autonomous vehicles to quickly react to any at a distance of 10 metres or further to avoid collisions.
“Our technology will allow self-driving cares to more quickly detect and avoid hazards, understand and obey road rules and to determine their exact location in relation to other moving vehicles and landmarks in a given environment,” he said.
“The laser sensors used by the majority of companies are prohibitively expensive. The computer vision algorithms we’re developing with ZongMu cost one-tenth the amount and will allow commercial and truly autonomous cars to reach the road in a much shorter time frame.”
The companies will work together from research through to development with the final product available to ZongMu’s customers in China and internationally, including OEM and partners in the mobility service industry.
The market for self-driving vehicles is expected to jump from US$42 billion in 2025 to nearly US$77 billion by 2035 as more companies compete to develop truly autonomous ‘Level 5’ vehicle – a car that can handle all tasks and drive anywhere.
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