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Making an Autonomous Car On a Budget 61

cartechboy writes Tired of waiting for self-driving cars from the automakers? If 2017 and 2020 just feel too far away there's now a solution. It's called Cruise, and for $10,000 it'll turn your current ride into a self-driving car. Kyle Vogt started the company and recruited a team of engineers and roboticists from MIT to work on autonomous vehicles. Cruise plans to market the hardware as something that can be retrofitted to existing cars using roof-mounted sensors near the windshield, actuators to operate the controls, and a trunk-mounted computer that manages everything. The idea is that drivers can merge onto the highway and simply hit the "Cruise" button on the dashboard. This will engage the system and basically turns the car on autopilot. The system can use the steering, brakes, and throttle to keep the car in its lane. Currently the first system, called RP-1, only works on current-generation Audi A4 and S4 models. RP-1 is currently available for pre-order with the launch set for near year.
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Making an Autonomous Car On a Budget

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 26, 2014 @08:17AM (#47323275)

    this may be a nice step forward in terms of cruise control, but there's nothing autonomous about their system.

    Once you are in the right place on the freeway this system supposedly will keep you in the same lane and will slow down, as well as accelerate, but you are still responsible for a lot of the driving.

  • by sir-gold ( 949031 ) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @08:46AM (#47323423)

    Why is this system only usable on these two specific models of cars? Is there something special about the cars that makes them easier to automate, or does everyone at the company drive exclusively brand-new Audis and they have nothing else to test with?

    It seems oddly specific for a system that should be pretty universal.

    Even if the kit does have to be custom-made for each model of car, wouldn't it make sense to design the initial version for something with a wider market, like a Toyota Corolla or Ford Focus?

  • by melstav ( 174456 ) on Thursday June 26, 2014 @09:10AM (#47323577)

    The steering wheel.

    Most vehicles (if not all) being marketed for consumer road use have power steering. The standard (in the USA, if not globally) is to use hydraulics to help you move the wheels back and forth as you steer.

    Those two models of Audi use electric motors to provide power assist, instead. That makes it MUCH easier to interface the control system.

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