May 23, 2013

Driverless Cars

Fun discussing the privacy considerations of self-driving automobiles yesterday, but the tech side is better:

When self-driving cars reach the masses, thanks may be due to a 19-year-old high-school student from Romania who developed an artificial intelligence that slashes the cost of the technology. He took top prize -- a $75,000 scholarship -- Friday at an international science and engineering fair.

Self-driving cars are nothing new. Tech giant Google, for example, has been working on one since 2010. But Google's uses technology that was developed without thinking about cost, prize winner Ionut Budisteanu explained.

"The most expensive thing from the Google self-driving car is the high resolution 3-D radar, so I was thinking how I could remove it," he told NBC News.

His solution relies on processing webcam imagery with artificial intelligence technology to pick out the curbs, lane markers, and even soccer balls that roll onto the road. This is coupled with data from a low-resolution 3-D radar that recognizes "big" objects such as other cars, houses, and trees.

Now, I'm just a software guy, but would not optical solutions be less tolerant of weather conditions than radar? All the same, assessing my technical/engineering achievements when I was 19 and -- I think I'll give it to Ionut Budisteanu.

Hat-tip: @tylercowen

Technology Posted by John Kranz at May 23, 2013 10:16 AM
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