Cheap Researchers Are Working On A $US150 Self-Driving Car

When you think of a self-driving car, you probably think of Google's little project. And exciting as that is, we still have to wait a long time for pay-off. And even then, you can bet it'll be pricey. Researchers in the UK are working on their own version of the tech, and it stands to be a lot cheaper. Maybe as cheap as $US150.

RobotCar, a tricked out Nissan Leaf, is a project currently under development by researchers at the University of Oxford, and the minds behind it are giving themselves an extra little challenge: it's gotta be cheap. So far the system, which uses stereo camera and lasers, runs about $US7,750, but researchers are hoping they can knock that down by a factor of 10, and then all the way down to $US150.

Professor Paul Newman put it this way to the Telegraph:

Really, we do need to solve the engineering challenges of not relying on expensive sensors, but relying on cheap sensors. But doing some really smart things with those cheap sensor feeds.

At prices like that, you're going to have to make some compromises, and chief among them is that RobotCar will need you to teach it a bit. As you drive your RobotCar to work or to the store, the car's systems will be keeping a close eye on the route and, eventually, will know enough to take over for you. RobotCar's been tested on some private roads, and with a go-ahead from the UK Department of Transportation, it should get some public road time soon. Hopefully it works out, because $US150 for trouble-free commutes sound pretty nice.

[The Telegraph via The Verge]


    As an engineer, I don't think I'll be putting my life in the hands of "cheap sensors".

      I don't know, I'd almost trust the sensors more than certain driver. At least the sensors TRY to detect other cars.

      Last edited 18/02/13 10:31 am

      As a customer, you'll be putting your life in the hands of cheap sensors before you know it, whether you like it or not.

    A big move up from salad dressings.

    As a person who opens comments with "As a person," I comment.

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