Jennifer van der Kleut
A look at some of the most interesting headlines to come out of the driverless, connected-car world this week.
MIT rolls out a driverless scooter
MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has developed a self-driving mobility scooter, and the systems and algorithms that power it could have positive implications for other types of driverless vehicles as well. So far, it is said the scooter works well both outdoors and indoors. The new scooter made its public debut in April when more than 100 people were invited to take it for a spin as part of a test of the software. On a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the safest, test-riders ranked the scooter’s safety on average between 3.5 to 4.6. Read more about MIT’s driverless scooter from NewAtlas.com.
Willow Run site in MI has been purchased for a new driverless vehicle test site
The news has been expected for nearly a year, and news outlets are reporting this week that it has finally happened–The former World War II bomber factory known as Willow Run in Michigan’s Ypsilanti township has been purchased by the new American Center For Mobility (ACM) for $1.2 million. Plans are to transform the 335-acre site into a state-of-the-art driverless vehicle test site. Conceptual plan designs have already been finalized, and construction could begin before the end of the year, according to Michigan state officials. The ACM anticipates the site opening for business in December, 2017. Read more from the Detroit News.
Texas A&M engineering students transform Ford F-150 into self-driving truck
Using only the on-board GPS system that came with the truck, a group of Texas A&M students have transformed an old 2005 F-150 Ford truck into a self-driving one. As the head chair of the engineering department, Professor Reza Langari explains, they devised a way to communicate a set path to the on-board GPS system and use that to help the truck navigate itself. With more than $100,000 invested in the vehicle, engineers will soon equip the truck with cameras and other devices which will allow the truck to drive even more fully on its own, Langari said. Read more about Texas A&M’s self-driving truck from NBC 5.
Image: MIT’s driverless scooter prototype, courtesy of MIT.