Toronto, Ontario — August 27, 2018 —
University of Waterloo researchers have achieved 100 hours of operation on public roads with their self-driving car.
The milestone comes almost two years after the team won approval from the Ontario government to participate in on-road testing of the vehicle, in what was referred to as a vehicle pilot program.
“We’re pulling this off and 100 kilometres is symbolic of that,” said Krzysztof Czarnecki. “It’s a number you can’t reach without having a robust system.”
The autonomous vehicle, better known as Autonomoose, is a modified Lincoln MKZ equipped with nine cameras, LiDAR and radar scanners and other sensory devices that compiles data which is then processed by a onboard computer software.
Currently the car operates independently in an ‘autonomous mode’ at speeds up to 35 km/h, passing through intersections and reacting to traffic lights up to two kilometers at a time. A human driver is behind the wheel at all times and has the ability to take control whenever required.
“This is an important stepping stone,” said Danson Garcia, the lead hardware researcher. “We can definitely see this is doable and that our research is moving forward.”
Going forward researches plan to improve the vehicle by limiting the number of human interventions, improving the cars perception of other vehicles and pedestrians, and refining the artificial intelligence mandatory for the car’s autonomous software to make difficult decisions and maneuvers on its own.
“There is still a lot of tuning needed and development to follow up on, but for us this is a huge achievement. When we did our first road test, the system was really just a fundamental subset of what we have now.”
The project involves over 60 professors, engineers, researchers and graduate students from the University of Waterloo and represents the most advanced university-based program of its kind in Canada.