Self-driving cars are all rage these days, thanks to Elon Musk's Tesla and other EV manufacturers.
The tech is growing popular in markets around the world, and the folks at MIT are working to kick it up a notch.
They have developed a system that can upgrade self-driving cars with the ability to 'see' around the corners.
Here's all about it.
Driverless cars struggle to see around corners
Self-driving vehicles rely on LiDAR, aka Light Detection and Ranging, and AI algorithms to 'see' what's on the road and act accordingly.
The tech helps cars dodge incoming obstacles - cars/people - and navigate. But when it comes to corners, say like a bind turn, it struggles to detect the object on the other side owing to the lack of data.
This is where MIT's tech comes in
To tackle this problem, the folks at MIT have developed a solution called 'ShadowCam'.
The system employs a series of cameras to analyze a very specific region of the road - the point where two perpendicular paths meet - and discern falling shadows to determine if a vehicle or person is coming from around the corner.
How this thing works?
As a self-driving vehicle approaches a T point, the cameras record a series of frames, which are intelligently processed by the system to detect the presence of shadows and changing light conditions.
This data ultimately helps the system determine whether an object is coming from the other side as well as predict its position and relative speed, too.
Then, the vehicle takes appropriate action, avoids accident
Once the shadow data is processed and the presence of a vehicle is determined, the system gets enough time to preemptively guide the vehicle to slow down or come to a complete halt.
This could prove extremely beneficial in avoiding accidents between vehicles moving quickly towards an intersection (T-point), even when there's no direct line of sight between them.
However, more work needs to be done
While this could be a major upgrade for self-driving vehicles, it's worth noting that it is still in development. The tech was able to beat LiDar by over half a second, but that was in artificial lighting. Natural light tests are yet to be conducted.