How Do Autonomous Cars Deal with Double-parked Vehicles?
【Summary】For autonomous vehicles to become self-sufficient on public roads, they must be fully capable of performing complex driving maneuvers without human intervention.
For autonomous vehicles to become self-sufficient on public roads, they must be fully capable of performing complex driving maneuvers without human intervention. Examples of such unpredictable scenarios include the following: merging lanes, getting around double-parked cars, parallel parking and three-point turns.
A maneuver that will likely be crossed off that list very soon is dealing with double-parked vehicles in congested cities. Although it may seem impossible for driverless vehicles to take on such feats, self-driving startup Cruise has developed a cutting-edge solution that addresses this issue. The company, which is heavily backed by General Motors, tested the feature on the busy streets of San Francisco.
Looking Out for Cues and Signs of Double Parking
The first step of the maneuver is identification. That is, the autonomous car should properly classify the vehicle as a double-parked unit. According to the startup, there are several cues that driverless sensors look out for on the road during real-time assessment. Some of these signs are: status of brake and hazard lights, distance to an intersection and ability to see around the obstacle.
Behind the scenes, data gathered by the sensors are processed using robust computer-vision protocols. Machine learning is applied in deciding if the vehicle is really double-parked. Specifically, the startup leverages a recurrent neural network (RNN) to reinforce its autonomous platform.
After identification and assessment, the driverless vehicle executes the maneuver based on instructions. This step is carefully carried out, factoring in the unit's surroundings and limitations of the car. The driving maneuver is optimized using Model Predictive Control (MPC). Cruise use MPC algorithms for motion planning.
"Transformation is an incredibly dynamic process and as I told my team, if we get it right we will never be finished," explained Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors.
"We will continue to act with speed, with discipline, and integrity to drive the business performance we need to win in today's market and in the future."
In large cities, double-parked cars are a common sight. More specifically, in San Francisco (where the startup performed its tests) the rate of encounter is 24:1. This rate is much higher than other locations in the US, including Phoenix, Arizona (where Waymo is testing its self-driving fleet). With this in mind, the way Waymo treats double-parked scenarios is very different, compared to Cruise. When one of the company's driverless minivans detects a double-parked car, it tags it as a stalled vehicle. After identification, it simply looks for the best way to drive around it.
"In San Francisco, each car encounters construction, cyclists, pedestrians, and emergency vehicles up to 46 times more frequently than in suburban environments, and each car learns how to maneuver around these aspects of the city every day," said Rachel Zucker and Shiva Ghose, Software Engineers at Cruise.
There's no doubt that testing double-parked obstacles in San Francisco is more difficult than suburban areas. This could give Cruise an edge over its competitors, as busy cities are expected to accommodate autonomous vehicles before other locations.
Michael Cheng is a legal editor and technical writer with publications for Blackberry ISHN Magazine Houzz and Payment Week. He specializes in technology business and digesting hard data. Outside of work Michael likes to train for marathons spend time with his daughter and explore new places.
Waymo Receives Permit to Participate in California’s Autonomous Vehicle Pilot
Kitty Hawk and Boeing Form Partnership to Make Flying Cars Safer
Waymo to Bring Driverless Cars to France and Japan via Nissan-Renault Partnership
Porsche Forecasts EVs Going Mainstream
Zomato Tests Drones for Food Deliveries in India
Alibaba Brings Tmall Genie to Audi, Honda and Renault Vehicles
Driverless Sensor Startup Sense Photonics Raises $26 Million in Series A Funding
Startup Alaka'i Unveils Hydrogen-powered Flying Car
- Honda's New EV Friendly Retail Plans Hint at the End of Mega Dealerships
- Volkswagen’s Software Company CARIAD to Use BlackBerry QNX to Support ADAS and Autonomous Driving Functions of Future VW Vehicles
- The World’s Biggest Battery Producer CATL Signs MoU with EV Startup VinFast to Develop a ‘Skateboard’ Electric Vehicle Platform
- Struggling Electric Vehicle Startup Faraday Future Signs Deal to Raise up to $350 Million in Financing to Help it Stay Afloat
- The BMW 7-Series to Feature HD Live Maps From HERE Technologies for Hands-Free Highway Driving in North America at Speeds up to 80 MPH
- The Tesla Model Y and Model 3 Take the 1st and 2nd Place Spots in the Annual Cars.com ‘American-Made Index’
- Tesla Raises Prices in the U.S. as Inflation Chips Away at its Profit Margins
- BMW to Test a New Battery in the iX Electric SUV Developed By Michigan Startup Our Next Energy Inc. That Can Deliver 600 Miles of Range
- Ford Announces the Largest Utility Agreement in the U.S. History to Assemble All of its Vehicles in Michigan Using 100% Renewable Energy by 2025
- Lucid Launches New Performance Brand ‘Sapphire’ with a 1,200 Horsepower, Tri-Motor Version of the Lucid Air Sedan