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Ford Self-Driving R&D Car Tells Small Animal From Paper Bag At 200 Ft. 207

Posted by samzenpus
from the where-you-going? dept.
cartechboy writes "Autonomous driving is every car manufacturer's immediate R&D project. In car-building terms, even if a new technology isn't due for 10 years — since that's just two full vehicle generations away-- it has to be developed now. So now it is for autonomous car research and testing, and this week Ford revealed a brand new Fusion Hybrid research vehicle built for autonomous R&D with some interesting tech capabilities. Technologies inside the new Fusion Hybrid research vehicle include LIDAR (a light-based range detection), which scans at 2.5 million times per second to create a 3D map of the surrounding environment at a radius of 200 feet. Ford says the research vehicle's sensors are sensitive enough to detect the difference between a small animal and a paper bag even at maximum range. More road-ready differentiations include observation and understanding of pedestrians, cyclists, and plain old stationary objects. Ford is working on this project in cooperation with the University of Michigan."
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Ford Self-Driving R&D Car Tells Small Animal From Paper Bag At 200 Ft.

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  • salt and de-icer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hunter44102 (890157) on Friday December 13, 2013 @06:42AM (#45678763)
    lets see what it can detect in the Northeast after 2 days of snow, salt and de-icer puts a 'film' of gunk covering 90% of the vehicle
  • by somersault (912633) on Friday December 13, 2013 @07:23AM (#45678897) Homepage Journal

    They don't stand to profit from anything right now, this is just news about a research project. If you are annoyed at the lack of product reviews for a product that doesn't even exist yet, maybe you should stop reading tech news sites.

  • by jklovanc (1603149) on Friday December 13, 2013 @07:28AM (#45678911)

    Ford says the research vehicle's sensors are sensitive enough to detect the difference between a small animal and a paper bag even at maximum range.

    Given that the sensors can detect a difference here are some follow on questions that seem important.
    1. Can it detect which one is the animal and which one is the bag? (they talk about difference not identification)
    2. Can it tell if the small animal is alive or dead if it is not moving.
    3. Can it tell if the animal is on a leash and not going to be an issue?
    4. Can it detect if there is a barrier between the animal and the desired route of travel and the animal not being an issue?
    5. Can it tell the difference between a turtle and a rabbit? Turtles having much more restricted movement possibilities than a rabbit.
    6. Will it remember that the small animal went into the bag. Out of sight out of mind.
    7. Can it differentiate between an empty bag and a bag of cement? Driving over an empty bag is not a problem. Driving over a bag of cement is probably a problem.
    Detecting the difference between a small animal and a paper bag is important but it is only the first step in in a very complex decision process to determine what to do with that information.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Friday December 13, 2013 @07:30AM (#45678917)

    I've ridden in a lot of taxis recently in the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany and Greece. I would miss having a live driver to tell me all the gossip in the city. Taxi drivers are always the most informed folks in any city. They can tell you who the mayor is sleeping with and where he buys his drugs.

    The NSA shouldn't pay employees to play online games. They should have them drive around in taxis and talk to the drivers. Taxi drivers would make the best intelligence network.

  • by ustolemyname (1301665) on Friday December 13, 2013 @08:06AM (#45679031)

    Bag: Should be avoided.
    Baby: Should be avoided.

    Bag: May involve gently changing direction, do not brake erratically, do not disturb flow of traffic.
    Baby: May involve driving into the ditch, other traffic, making full use brakes, honking horn, etc.

    You really think it doesn't matter?

It is not every question that deserves an answer. -- Publilius Syrus

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