Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Domo arigato, for self-driving autos

Lynn Gayowski
Lynn Gayowski
When talk moves to autonomous cars, Google's self-driving car is often the first project that springs to mind. However, there are a slew of automakers with autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles in development — Audi, BMW, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, and Toyota, to name a few. And did you know that QNX has been involved with autonomous projects since 1997?

Let's begin at the beginning. Obviously the first step is to watch the 1983 Mr. Roboto music video. To quote selectively, "I've come to help you with your problems, so we can be free." As Styx aptly communicated with the help of synthesizers, robots have the potential to improve our lives. Current research predicts autonomous cars will reduce traffic collisions and improve traffic flow, plus drivers will be freed up for other activities.

So let's take a look at how QNX has been participating in the progress to self-driving vehicles.

The microkernel architecture of the QNX operating system provides an exemplary foundation for systems with functional safety requirements, and as you can see from this list, there are projects related to cars, underwater robots, and rescue vehicles.

Take a look at this 1997 video from the California Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology (PATH) and the National Automated Highway System Consortium (NAHSC) showing their automated driving demo — the first project referenced on our timeline. It's interesting that the roadway and driving issues mentioned in this video still hold true 17 years later.

We're estimating that practical use of semi-autonomous cars is still 4 years away and that fully autonomous vehicles won't be available to the general public for about another 10 years after that. So stay tuned to the QNX Auto Blog. I'm already envisioning a 30-year montage of our autonomous projects. With a stirring soundtrack by Styx.

1 comment:

  1. Great news, yet this technology is still too expensive. For example Google's driveless car has lidar (light radar) system which costs $80,000. Nevertheless, in 10 years or so it will be fairly affordable. Just imagine an impact on taxi cab industry - and in 20 years man-driving industry could disappear.