Acura Reveals Second Generation Automated Development Vehicle
Acura looks closer to fully autonomous cars with new sensors in its automated development vehicleby Robert Moore, on
Every major manufacturer on this green earth of ours is on a mission to make autonomous cars a reality by 2020, and now Acura has announced its second-generation automated development vehicle. This new vehicle is a modified version of theAcura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD and is slated for testing by Honda Research Institute USA at the GoMentum Station – a 5,000-acre proving ground in San Francisco that has more than 20 miles of paved roadway grids and is specifically designed to provide a realistic urban infrastructure for testing autonomous cars.
According to Acura, this new autonomous development vehicle uses information from various sensors and puts it all together in a process known as “sensor fusion.” This process allows testers and engineers to validate information from each signal with more accuracy than ever before. In a sense, the vehicle uses radar to detection the relative position and velocity of off-board objects while the camera system is used to identify different objects based on size and shape.
This concept of “sensor fusion” isn’t exactly new, though. It is actually used by Acura’s current AcuraWatch driver assistant suite and as a basis for safety features from other vehicle manufacturers too. To build upon the current safety suite in use, the development vehicle was equipped with updated radar and Lidar sensors as well as new cameras and GPS sensors – all of which have better computer and image processors, better cabling, and improved circuitry. Furthermore, the sensors provide better heat management over the systems currently in use across Acura’s 2016 model lineup.
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Why it matters
This new automated development vehicle is a pretty big deal for Acura if it is going to improve its autonomous driving technology. Obviously, manufacturers still have a long way to go before cars can be trusted to drive themselves, but this is a step in the right direction. Manufacturers are pushing to have autonomous systems ready to go by the turn of the decade, though I don’t expect the technology to be ready by then.
In my opinion, autonomous driving won’t be perfected until we can come close to creating an artificial intelligence that can work as well as the human mind, and we’re still a long way off. That said, look for more innovations like this in the future from all manufacturers as we slowly edge closer to a reality where we don’t have to drive ourselves.
Read our full review on the Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD here.