Mobileye, an Intel-owned Israeli autonomous vehicle company, is developing intelligent systems that would enable vehicles to take decisions in fleeting seconds and take turns just like human drivers, without the risk of a human-driven vehicle rushing straight towards it.
Mobileye recently released a video of an autonomous vehicle test on the congested streets of Jerusalem.
The short video shows the autonomous cars switching lanes with agility, overtaking other cars and taking all the decisions in a fraction of seconds as a professional driver would. Driving in crowded roads where horns blare at every second and you have to be prepared for unexpected turns, is a big test of the street-preparedness of autonomous cars and determining whether the autonomous vehicle system is smart enough to correctly predict and handle the situation. Mobileye is among the few companies to publicly display this.
What distinguishes Mobileye cars from other autonomous vehicles is the fact that Mobileye uses a series of cameras instead of LiDAR. However, the company understands the importance of LiDAR imaging and plans to incorporate LiDAR in its vehicles soon.
One of the major challenges confronting autonomous cars today is the ability to distinguish between animated and unanimated hurdles in the path, and further predict the mobility of human-steered vehicles to avoid collisions. Often accidents occur because of haphazard turns taken by human-driven cars, or cars suddenly going out of their lanes and speeding past other vehicles.
Amnon Shashua, co-founder and chairman of Mobileye, said “Jerusalem is notorious for aggressive driving. There aren’t perfectly marked roads. And there are complicated merges. People don’t always use crosswalks. You can’t have an autonomous car traveling at an overly cautious speed, congesting traffic or potentially causing an accident. You must drive assertively and make quick decisions like a local driver.”
There is a very thin line between assertive driving on crowded roads while being in control of the vehicle and the environment, and risky driving. Self-driven vehicles developing this capability is the next step in their evolution that will make them fit for crowded roads.
Mobileye is also looking forward to autonomous vehicle safety and is collaborating on industry-led safety standards that can be followed by all autonomous vehicle systems of the future.
With these developments, it is not an overstatement to say that intelligent algorithms powering autonomous vehicles will devise the best possible ways to avoid mishaps and soon surpass all human capabilities very briskly.