that could enable semi and fully autonomous driving, will be available by the end of the decade.
GM’S leading-edge work on sensor fusion draws on its experience with The Boss, a fully autonomous Chevrolet Tahoe developed by GM, Carnegie Mellon University and other partner companies, and named for GM R&D founder Charles F. “Boss” Kettering. In 2007, The Boss navigated 60 miles of urban traffic, busy intersections and stop signs in less than six hours to win the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Urban Challenge competition.
Sensor fusion development also is bolstered by GM’S work on the EN-V, three semi-autonomous electric concept vehicles unveiled at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. By combining GPS with vehicle-tovehicle communications, distance-sensing and object detection technologies, EN-V can be driven both manually and autonomously, the latter allowing it to automatically select the fastest route based on real-time traffic information.
Among the technologies that GM is looking to develop for future active safety systems is LIDAR, a light detecting and ranging technology that can measure the distance to a vehicle or object by illuminating it, often using pulses from a laser. Although LIDAR is no replacement for driver vision, it can become another set of eyes when visibility has deteriorated due to inclement weather or darkness. When combined with radar, cameras and ultrasonic sensors, LIDAR has potential crash avoidance capability.
A more advanced positioning system, using more accurate GPS and digital mapping, also is expected to play an important role on future active safety systems because it helps locate vehicles in relation to one another. While GPS effectiveness can be limited in urban canyon environments where high-rise buildings can interfere with satellite signals, the technology is still considered an asset when “fused” with other sensing and positioning technologies.
“No sensor working alone provides all the needed information. That’s why multiple sensors and positioning technologies need to work together synergistically and seamlessly,” Litkouhi said. “Sensor fusion will help facilitate that.”
Integrating cameras, radar, laser radar, sensors, GPS and digital mapping is intended to make drivers more aware and help avert crashes.