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Autonomous Vehicles

— Automotive

Thought-controlled car demonstrated

By - February 18, 2011 3 Pictures
Since its formation in 2006, Freie Universität Berlin’s AutoNOMOS team has been researching and developing systems that could someday result in driverless, autonomous cars. Previously, they have successfully used an iPhone, an iPad, and an eye-tracking device to maneuver their Volkswagen Passat MadeInGermany test car. Now, using a commercially-available Emotiv EPOC brain-machine gaming interface, they have demonstrated that the car can be controlled by mind power. Read More
— Urban Transport

Guidance system to help electric wheelchairs read rough terrain

By - January 10, 2011 2 Pictures
Many of the greatest civilian innovations can be traced back to military origins. Penicillin, radar, satellites and the Internet, just to name a few. So it is not uncommon for technologies developed for fighting wars to be found to have wider applications. The following idea is an example of this adaptation and is inspired by the important need of disabled veteran soldiers for independence and mobility. By using terrain sensing control systems designed for the guidance of autonomous vehicles on the battlefield, researchers have begun developing a system that will allow wheelchair users to access more areas than ever before. Read More
— Automotive

SARTRE multi-vehicle road train project enters implementation phase

By - December 13, 2010 6 Pictures
The European SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) project, which is developing technology to automate slipstreaming of multiple vehicles on highways, is now a year into its three-year program. The first year has been spent ironing out the concept and investigating the requirements of a prototype system, as well as how people will react to using it. Now the program is set to enter the implementation phase, starting with the testing of a single lead and following vehicle. Read More
— Robotics

Eyes, ears and brains being developed for underwater robots

By - November 24, 2010 1 Picture
Engineers from Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics are working on an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that would be inexpensive enough to use for industrial applications such as hull and dam inspection, yet independent enough that it wouldn’t require any kind of human control. Typically, more cumbersome but less costly remote operated vehicles (ROVs) are used for grunt work – they are connected to a ship on the surface by a tether, where a human operator controls them. The more technologically-advanced AUVs tend to be used more for well-funded research, but according to the engineers, one of the keys to creating “blue collar” AUVs is to overhaul the ways that they see, hear and think. Read More
— Automotive

Oshkosh diesel-electric hybrid concept for Baja 1000 desert race

By - November 17, 2010 6 Pictures
It has been an exciting year for hybrid power train development in major racing series, with the teams deciding that KERS will return to Formula One in 2011, the growing success of the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup and now the news that Oshkosh Corporation will be fielding a 400 bhp hybrid diesel-electric Light Concept Vehicle in the Baja 1000 desert race which begins later this week in Mexico. Perhaps even more interesting than the hybrid powertrain is its TAK-4 suspension which offers 20 inches of independent wheel travel. Read More
— Automotive

Autonomous vans reach China after 92 days on the road

By - November 8, 2010 4 Pictures
Fancy a roadtrip? Don't have a driver? No problem! The team from VisLab have just completed a journey from across two continents in two autonomous vans – the longest single trip undertaken by an autonomous vehicle. Over the 8,000 miles (13,000km) there were only a few technical hiccups and it seems that border officials, the police, journalists and tired crew members were a bigger hazard than the tough road conditions. Read More
— Military

Lockheed Martin’s SMSS autonomous vehicle to demonstrate portable battery charging

By - October 27, 2010 7 Pictures
The US Army’s Nett Warrior program involves equipping dismounted soldiers with wearable battle tracking electronics in order to increase situational awareness and reaction time and reduce the risk of “friendly fire”-related accidents. One Nett Warrior-equipped Infantry Brigade Combat Team requires a collection of batteries weighing 155 pounds (70 kg) for one 24-hour mission, and could consume the power of 140 batteries per day. That’s a lot of gear, and is the reason why aerospace firm Lockheed Martin first developed the Squad Mission Support System (SMSS) in 2005. An autonomous all-terrain vehicle that can follow troops in the field, the SMSS carries batteries, packs and other gear, and it now also serves as a mobile charging station. Read More
— Marine

AUVs, ROVs key to bringing back new Titanic images and data

By - September 23, 2010 14 Pictures
Last week the RMS Titanic, Inc. finally finished up an unprecedented photography expedition at the site of the sunken Titanic off the coast of Newfoundland. The team obtained high-definition and even 3D images which surpassed any photos taken of the wreck site to date. They completed the mission just in time too, with Hurricane Igor ushering them back to shore, like a cranky museum security guard scolding you for taking too many pictures. Read More
— Automotive

Driverless vehicles headed from Serbia to China

By - July 29, 2010 9 Pictures
As of July 29th, two electric vans embarked from Belgrade, Serbia on a three-month road trip to Shanghai, China. Along the way, they will have to manage stop-and-go city traffic, extremes in weather, and even some stretches of off-road driving. All this would be a great test for their electric drive system, but the researchers from Italy’s VisLab put this expedition together mainly to test something else: their driverless vehicle technology. While each of the vans in the VisLab Intercontinental Autonomous Challenge (VIAC) will have passengers in the back seats, ready to take control if necessary, they will normally have no one at the steering wheel. Read More
— Military

Semi-autonomous, Multi-Operated All-Terrain Vehicle to lighten soldiers' loads

By - July 20, 2010 1 Picture
BAE Systems’ Multi-Operated All-Terrain Vehicle (MOATV) is a semi-autonomous vehicle designed to reduce the burden on ground troops. As well as being driven like an ordinary vehicle, the MOATV can be tele-operated by a remote control or instructed to semi-autonomously follow or go directly to a soldier operating a PDA. The company says the technology on the MOATV, which includes collision detection and avoidance systems that allow it to negotiate around objects that lie in its path while operating autonomously, can be applied to any vehicle. Read More
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