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University of Louisville Study on Automated Vehicle Perception

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Posted April 29, 2019

The potential for public acceptance of automated vehicles provides a research opportunity for the University of Louisville’s Center for Transportation Innovation (CTI). The design for a yearlong study allows drivers to receive information about using the new technology on roadways and then to indicate their levels of acceptance of it, according to CTI Director Richard Li.

Free image via Pixabay

As the nation’s automobile manufacturers move closer to making automated vehicles widely available on the market, university researchers see the consequences as worthy of study. Director Li stated his view that “one day in the near future” car buyers may find automated vehicles readily available in the markets. He included Kentucky’s drivers in his prediction, noting that Kentuckians have shown openness to “considering the technology.” That’s good, since there there have been many recent distracted driving accidents in Kentucky, like this accident.

As early as 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration anticipated the development of autonomous vehicles and developed a classification system for them. The formal categories ranged from Level 1 for fully manual vehicles without any automated control to Level 5 for full automation with no human intervention. Manufacturers currently focus on developing Level 1 vehicles that can execute certain kinds of cruise control, compliance with lane markings and parking.

Li considers his study important to government regulators as well as auto manufacturers who stand to benefit by understanding attitudes that reflect the public’s trust. As the nation transitions to an alternative mode of transportation, the CTI study offers scientific measurement of public acceptance.

Li offers an opportunity to participate in the online study to any Kentucky driver. While indicating that urban drivers have shown significant levels of involvement in the project by participating in it, rural drivers have shown less acceptance. He encourages drivers to understand that the study in no way attempts to convince them of anything. As a scientific tool, it only measures whether drivers have the interest, ability of both to use automated technology without trying to persuade them to trust it. Li recommends participation in the study by anyone who has an interest in expressing an opinion without regard to favorable or unfavorable feelings about it.

The University of Louisville joins many other major universities in the United States and around the world in the pursuit of research about automated vehicles. As an information source on automated driving, self-driving cars and autonomous vehicles, 2025AD compiled a list of some projects that deserve recognition. The acceleration of self-driving car technologies may owe a debt to the academic community for its passionate work to develop and test automated vehicle.

A robotic lab at Carnegie Mellon has conducted research on autonomous vehicles for more than 30 years, as evidenced by its introduction of the self-driving ALVINN in 1989. Uber lured many of the faculty members away from the academic world, but the lab currently has more engineers and scientists than it did when they left in 2015.

At the University of Michigan, a 32-acre “Mcity” required a $10 million investment to create a model for deploying and testing driverless cars in a complex traffic environment. The experiment allows engineers to evaluate the impact of autonomous driving on urban planning as well as technological solutions. The inquiries that the researchers seek to answer include the effect of mass deployment on urban sprawl. The potential use of parking spaces as green areas with the arrival of shared and autonomous vehicles provides a focus of attention.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The influence on the development of automated mobility at MIT contributes significantly to the body of knowledge that goes beyond developing computer software or sensor technology. In a partnership with Toyota, MIT explores blockchain technology for driverless cars that may enable the secure exchange of data in the vehicles. The research project allows an approach to moral questions about potential fatalities that the vehicles may cause.

Oxford University

A mission statement from Oxford rejects the concept of a future of traffic accidents, congestion and wasted time that can happen with cars that drive themselves. In 2014, they launched Oxbotica, a company that promotes the commercialization of the new technology. Oxford’s achievements in the design of autonomous software continue with Selenium, a self-learning system that can theoretically upload into vehicles that have the appropriate sensors. Shuttles in Greenwich currently test the prototype in streets that other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists use.

Seoul National University

With major investments from Hyundai and Samsung, the National University has produced SNUver, an autonomous car that researchers currently test on busy streets in Seoul. The car contains 64 LIDAR sensors that the university’s Intelligent Vehicle Research Center developed. The Center’s professor of Electrical Engineering Seo Seung-woo started work on autonomous driving a decade ago when it attracted little interest. As his efforts focus on managing the challenges of self-driving cars in heavy traffic, he expects an increase in attention to his research.

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