There are several companies that want to rule the road without drivers, providing the cars, technology and wherewithal for cars to drive without people. Currently on the autonomous driverless self-driving, robotic, auto-piloted track are the following big companies.
Google Self Driving Car Project Lexus Nexus
Google announced that their robotic cars have now driven over 700,00 miles focusing on city driving in Mountain View, California. Sensors detect jaywalking pedestrians, cars backing out of driveway, a stop sign held up by a crossing guard, cyclist turning gestures, construction zones, cones, lane closures, trucks on the side, rail road crossings and thus compensate for all the distracted drivers who are Googling while driving. Google self-driving cars have huge camera on the top of the car and are labeled self-driving car.
Google is currently testing 24 sensor-loaded Lexus RX450h vehicles.
Ford Has a Better LiDAR Idea?
Ford at Mobile World Congress showed its automated research car, with four infrared light sensors called LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) that scan the surrounding environment for objects such as vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, and even small animals. Ford collaborated with the University of Michigan, State Farm and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
University of Michigan
In Ann Arbor there are almost three thousand connected vehicles operating as part of a study by the University of Michigan Transportation Institute(UMTRI). The University will increase the number of autonomous cars up to 9,000 and is building a $6.5 million autonomous vehicle test track with cross walks, side walks, merge lane, fire hydrants, roundabouts, building frontage, tunnels, bike lanes and parking meters to simulate real-life driving conditions.
There are reports of major U.S. corporate sponsor backing the projects a the University of Michigan Ann Arbor.
Update 5/8/2014: Bosch, Econolite, Ford, General Motors, Toyota and Xerox have joined the center as its initial industry partners.
Mercedes Comes Around the Autonomous Bends
With its S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE research vehicle, Mercedes-Benz in August 2013 claims to be the world’s first automobile manufacturer to demonstrate that autonomous driving in rural and urban traffic is possible.
Audi A7 Takes Over @ 40mph or Less Many Features in Production Models
At CES Audi announced that it has developed its own, much smaller LIDAR that is mounted on the Audi grille, eliminating the ugly “can” at the top look that is seen on the Google Lexus cars. The company showed just how intelligent and beautiful self-driving cars can be. Journalists were given the opportunity to see a fully auto-piloted Audi A7 come in and out of a garage and park itself while driver sat in A7 vehicles that took over most driving tasks in traffic at less than 40mph.
The Audi Urban Future Award 2014 finalists include four teams in four cities developing four projects to connect cars and cities that will develop new forms of connected car scenarios.
Volvo Plows Magnets through Snow and More
At the New York Auto Show Volvo showed off a Volvo with the sensors in the grille work. Volvo Car Group has many connected car features in the works – magnetic sensing vehicles, cloud sharing of road hazards and sensors for cars to get to know their drivers while offering help or accident prevention. Magnets are important because they can be detected under snow and ice. Volvo is also working on ADAS technology that protects pedestrians and researching how sensors that detect how the driver is feeling.
So far it is too soon to tell what combination of technology, research and ingenuity will win the race for the autonomous self-driving auto-piloted car. All we know for sure is who will drive the auto-piloted car…..no one (the car is driving it self).
Research and Opinion
Research and Markets predicts that IBM and Google will be the top software vendors for autonomous self-driven, driverless robotic cars.
A study from the Eno Center for Transportation reports the many benefits of autonomous, self-driven, robotic driverless cars, including saving money and reducing accidents.
The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) found that people surveyed feel positive about connected vehicles, have optimistic expectations of the benefits, have some concerns, and generally desire connected-vehicle technology when it becomes available.
The “Intel Freeway to the Future” conducted by Penn Schoen Berland found that Americans want a driverless connected car culture.
New research from the Pew Research Center shows that the public wants autonomous, robotic, driverless cars even more than brain implants or cloned meat