Cutting-edge software can detect traffic lights in 0.0005 seconds.
Autonomous vehicles aren't a thing of the future, they're here, and they're only getting smarter. In the race to develop self-driving cars in the true sense of the word, numerous companies have popped up, claiming to be able to take the job of piloting a car out of the hands of the human, and into the software encrypted guts of a computer. One such company is Oxbotica, an Oxford-based company that specializes in autonomous vehicle software.
Oxbotica, having already made a name for themselves in the mines, airports, quarries, and ports of the UK, has decided to dive headfirst into the world of automotive transport, and it has been their biggest challenge to date. Their focus has been on real-world issues, often overlooked by more technically minded companies: how will autonomous cars affect car insurance companies, and what will the cybersecurity and data privacy risk be? A 13.6 million pound project is looking to answer some of these questions by allowing a fleet of Ford Fusions to roam the streets of London free from the clumsy interventions of man.
Paul Newman, Oxbotica founder, says: "As humans, we get better at driving the more experience we have but we don't share our learnings with each other. This is the covenant for autonomous vehicles. They learn as a community in a way that we don't. If we, humans, have a mishap or see something extraordinary, we aren't guaranteed to make our neighbor or colleague a better driver.
"Even if we could learn from each other as computers can, we can't share at scale, across vast numbers and we can't do it all the time. That's what our AI software will do for every host vehicle wherever it is in the world. Providing life-long shared learning, and with it in-depth, and continually improved knowledge of the local area – allowing our cars to not just read the roads but to predict common hazards with ever greater sophistication." he concludes.
What makes Oxbotica's system so unique is the fact that it employs Selenium and Caesium software within its inner workings: Selenium is great at pulling in data from the sensors surrounding the vehicle, and does it better than any other software system currently available. Caesium on the other hand allows different cars in the system to share millions of data points almost instantly. Oxbotica shares some fascinating points about their system: Oxbotica software can detect traffic lights in 1/2,000th of a second and has already been deployed in mines, airports shuttles, trucks and overseas vehicle fleets. At the moment Oxbotica is conducting extensive trialling on some of the most congested and complex roads in the world.