Driverless car takes to the streets of Parma

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An autonomous vehicle called BRAiVE, developed by the Italian artificial vision and intelligent systems laboratory, VisLab, will navigate a route without a driver on public roads in Parma tomorrow. The car prototype will pilot itself in total autonomy around a course consisting of rural roads, motorway-like scenarios, and urban driving.

The event, dubbed PROUD (Public ROad Urban Driving) Car demo 2013, is the first experiment the group has undertaken in real traffic conditions and on public roads in complex scenarios, which include tight roundabouts, congested two-way roads and pedestrian areas.

The vehicle is equipped with sensors to perceive its environment. The on-board systems understand the traffic situation and react accordingly, acting on steering and changing speed autonomously, with no human intervention.

This experiment has been organised by the University of Parma, VisLab, and DISS (University Center for Advanced Research on Road Safety).

BRAiVE uses low cost sensors, mainly cameras, integrated in the vehicle chassis. One of the sensors is a stereoscopic system called 3DV, which uses VisLab’s algorithms to interpret the environment. It outputs a dense 3D map of the surroundings, with up to 10 million 3D points per second, in real time. The data can be used to detect and track obstacles, and estimate terrain surface, slope, and vehicle pose with respect to the terrain.

Work on the car design began in 2008 and was completed in mid-2009. A new VisLab prototype vehicle is also under development to advance research in the field of driverless cars and future mobility.

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