Thursday, 21 August 2014
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Remote control car paves the way for autonomous vehicles

The Engineer paid a visit to automotive test specialist MIRA to see a new vehicle designed to put autonomous driving systems through their paces.

Readers' comments (3)

  • The mind boggles when you think of all the different scenarios this will have to be tested for - including ice and snow. What happens if the vehicle skids? The problem I see is where the system has to return control to the driver, say in a tunnel or at the end of an auto-drive section or where an unexpected event occurs - say a blow-out. Does the driver have to remain alert enough at all times to retake control in an instant?

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  • The main challenge here is to create an instrumentation system that working with specialized software can identify what is going on around the vehicle. This is a typical situation when you try to replace human sense by robotic systems. If we think that many of our reactions and interpretation of scenarios are developed through a learning process along the years, than we can imagine the different approaches one can take trying to solve the problem.

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  • If only a fraction of this technology was applied to the railways we could start the second railway revolution.

    They are currently well over 90% empty. With suitable control and additional high speed "slip ways" or points they could be 90% full. We could then go away from the current Victorian idea of a train and have much smaller but better controlled carriages. There could be a link from Birmingham to London every few minutes without having to wait for the next HS2 train.

    The money would be much better spent on this new revolution. We led the World in the last railway revolution, we should try to generate the next one.

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