posted on Jul, 13 2008 @ 11:38 AM
Sci-fi, drunk driving, speeding, traffic accidents have all contributed to the challenge of developing autodrive cars. For years, autodrive
technology has been growing very slowly, but making progress. It seems that through the use of GPS, ground and surrounding sensors to maintain their
current location as it changes and avoid obstacles, the progress is being made slowly.
I have been thinking about this for a while and would like some input from the more intelligent among you. I would like to note that I may be way off
on my thinking, which is why I am posting this for debate.
First, for item encounters, vehicles already use an array of proximity sensors that set off warning bells if something is picked up too close. For
this, just expand on the number of sensors. Front, rear and side obstacle sensors in the bumpers and side trim of the vehicle would give plenty of
warning when there is an obstacle. The sensitivity settings are adjustable, so through testing, a desireable level could be achieved.
Next, location location location. All landspace has been mapped out for the global positioning system and as a former soldier I can tell you that it
has been mapped down to a square foot. GPS is very reliable in modern times and computers, phones, PDAs all can tell you exactly where you are at any
given moment based on this system. As well, road mapping is about 80% current at any given 6 month period. Such devices as TomTom and Garmin update
more often. Combining current roadway techonoloy and GPS would allow for mostly accurate planning. The final straw would be dynamic recording of
roadways not currently in the system, which is also very possible.
Finally, you have to control the entire operation. Vehicles are already controlled by sophisticated computers today. Lets take that a step further.
The current navigation systems already developed could be added to the memory bank. The autodrive navigation program would consist of all of the
plotted GPS coordinates (a relatively small numerical data file), the already in existance road navigation system and what I call the countdown
program. Once a route is planned, the computer compares the starting grid point with the destination grid point. The road navigation computer plots
the path as laid out by the roadway system and the data collected from DoT would list all of the GPS grid points, speed limits associated with each
grid point and current construction projects through those grid points (all done via internet download). The computer now plots a best scenario from
start to finish, incorporating all of this data into the autodrive dynamics.
How does this all come together? Well, in the beginning, I would suggest this system for the inter/intra state system. Most all states use the
"look out brail" along with the colored lines that seperate traffic lanes and the roadway shoulders. Why not incorporate these items into the
system. Each bump could be fitted with an emitter that did nothing but broadcast its GPS coordinate. A bumper receiver would gather this data in
rapid fire succession as it passed each one and that would be added to the trip equation, as well as help maintain the vehicle in a single lane of
traffic. The solid and dotted line paint could have a reflective enhancement that was also noticed by a small magnetic sensor in each corner to
assist with this lane steadying. Now, there needs to be an enhancement to the navigation device technology. Not only can a pre-mapped route be
planned based on the recorded data, but through cooperation with the state DoT, the bump data would need to be recorded into the trip planning. All
of those coordinates are lined out in the computers trip navigation system and checked off one by one as they are achieved. The onboard computer
grids out the entire route and as it passes each bump and picks up the GPS emittion, it takes it out of the equation and progresses on to the next
until the route expires.