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Expert Opinions: How can we make autonomous cars safe?

June 1, 2018  - By

Q: How can positioning technology ensure safety for passengers of autonomous cars and for others on or near the roadway?

Paul Perrone, Founder/CEO, Perrone Robotics

Satellite-based and local beacon-based positioning technologies offer the best opportunity for reliable and precise location determination of an autonomous vehicle. Alternate solutions like SLAM and lane keeping are decent augmentations, but suffer from the imprecision that comes from sensing in a large dynamic environment. As satellite and local beacon-based positioning technologies become increasingly more pervasive and accurate, this will continue to yield the most reliable and deterministic solution for safe localization of autonomous vehicles.

Paul Groves, Senior Lecturer, University College London

A: No matter how good it gets, positioning technology can never ensure the safety of autonomous car passengers and pedestrians. Knowing the position of each car is insufficient; you need to know where everything else is, including children, animals and temporary construction barriers. It is simply not practical to fit everyone and everything with a positioning device that transmits to every nearby vehicle. Collision avoidance therefore needs sensors such as radar and lidar.

Zoltan Molnar, Functional Safety Manager, NovAtel

A: Realization of safe autonomy requires the establishment of layers of protection using safety mechanisms without dependent faults. Absolute position provided by precise GNSS and inertial technology provides an independent reference for truth test of positioning solutions obtained with vision-based technologies. Vision-based solutions may incorporate common cause faults like sight obstruction, processing algorithms or similar. Absolute positioning can also contribute to realize near-real-time updated maps.