Ford enlists MIT, Stanford to drive automated cars

MIT is working on developing an algorithm to avoid pedestrians and other cars by figuring out where they will be in the future

Ford announced Wednesday that it hopes that researchers at MIT can come up with advanced algorithms to help the vehicle learn to predict where other vehicles and pedestrians could be in the future.

Ford announced Wednesday that it hopes that researchers at MIT can come up with advanced algorithms to help the vehicle learn to predict where other vehicles and pedestrians could be in the future.

Ford is enlisting top U.S. universities to make self-driving cars a reality, announcing Wednesday that it hopes researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology can come up with advanced algorithms to help vehicles learn where pedestrians and other automobiles will be located.

"We're using data from the sensors both on board and off board," said Jonathan How, director of the MIT-Ford Alliance and a professor of aeronautics at MIT. He said that the system isn't just using the car's Lidar system, which captures a 3D view of its surroundings using spinning cameras, but crosswalk signs and traffic lights.

See a demonstration of self-driving cars in a video on YouTube.

If the car knows whether a traffic light is red or green or whether a crosswalk sign is illuminated, it will have even more information than what is collected by the car's sensors. It might also be able to avoid an accident with a car that runs a red light.

"Having the sensors work in all conditions are issues that are fundamental to the problem," he said. How the sensors need to work in daylight, darkness, snow, rain and other weather conditions with the same reliability.

While the ultimate goal is to have an automated, driverless car, MIT is taking smaller steps to get towards the goal. How and his team of students are working to bring autonomous shuttles to MIT campus in Cambridge. He said he hopes to have golf-cart size prototypes on campus later this year, moving to something more permanent in the future. He said that the vehicles would have "safety drivers" just in case.

"The goal is to basically have a mobility on demand system," he said. Within two years, How imagines that all of the university's campus would be covered and students could order shuttles using an application on their smartphones.

On the west coast, Stanford University researchers are tasked with helping cars see around obstacles. For example, when a vehicle is blocked by a large truck, it would be able to maneuver inside the lane to see what is beyond the obstruction. It would be able to take actions based on what it learns. Maybe it would wait for the obstruction to clear or it might determine that it is safe to pass the truck.

Automated driving is part of what Ford calls its Blueprint for Mobility, which attempts to imagine the roads in 2025 and beyond. The company said that it is exploring all of the different components of automated driving including both the technological and legal hurdles.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags popular scienceAutomotiveroboticsMITFordindustry verticalsStanford University

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nick Barber

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?