Driverless taxi can be booked, monitored using iPad

October 15th, 2010 by Chris Hogg Leave a reply »

Something cool for all the tech and science geeks like me out there:

Scientists in Germany have unveiled a new self-driving car that lets passengers call for a ride via an Apple iPad (video below). The driverless cars locate the passengers via GPS built into the mobile device.

The technology, an autonomous vehicle named “MadeInGermany” (MIG), was designed by computer scientist Raul Rojas and colleagues from Freie Universitat Berlin. According to the developers, the car is equipped with a GPS tracker, three cameras, radar sensors and several laser scanners that lets it “think.”

“[MIG] is equipped with new sensor technology and thus capable of sensing its environment and autonomously navigating in everyday traffic situations,” the developers say. “The vehicle recognizes red lights and stop signs and ‘knows’ how to implement the right of way rules.”

With MIG, passengers use an iPad or smartphone app to call for the driverless cab. Using the GPS capabilities built-into each device, the automated taxi can automatically find the passenger’s location. It then determines the best route to get to the passenger and tells him or her the estimated time of arrival. The taxi then drives on its own, without a driver.

Developers say the sensor technology creates a three-dimensional image of the street so the car can detect pedestrians, bicycles, road signs and markings. It can also respond to traffic lights and come to a halt in the event something unexpected happens.

Once the passenger is picked up, the technology can also be switched off to allow him or her to take control of the vehicle.

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