Sebastian Thrun: driverless autonomous cars

Posted 1 Apr 2011 at 00:32 UTC by IKE_RobotsPodcast Share This


This short video is a TED talk featuring Sebastien Thrun, a pioneer in autonomous vehicles and head of the Stanford AI Lab (SAIL) and Stanford Racing team. The team’s work gained wide recognition with the first place of the second DARPA Grand Challenge in 2005, a win attributed to Stanford’s Stanley vehicle. A highly respectable second place followed in the 2007 urban challenge. Last year Google stunned the world when they announced that they tested autonomous cars (always under human supervision) for thousands of miles in public roads. Professor Thrun’s team at Stanford develops the system behind these achievements. It uses very advanced software and substantial processing capabilities embedded in the vehicle as well as a fusion of data from a variety of sensors like LIDAR, optic flow, radars etc. The ultimate goal is the elimination of the human element as a risk factor. This can be achieved gradually, at first as a safety net like an evolution of today’s electronic stability systems that override the driver in case of emergency or eventually as a complete driver replacement. Sebastien Thrun was a guest on robotspodcast in 2007 where he talked about Stanley’s win and more recently he also talked on DIYdrones podcast about his work.

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