A research conglomerate in Europe is about to finish a futuretech project involving an autonomous car dropping passengers at a railway station and then getting itself parked by identifying an empty spot and later picking up its commuter again. V-Charge is the name of the project that not only helps in commuting, parking but also includes charging up of the automobiles, autonomously. However, the mobility during the entire operation would be slow, so that the sensors may decipher the surrounding accurately.
A smart car system
The cars will operate on commands sent via smartphone app. Upon receiving instruction, it will steer itself from the parking spot towards the commuter, however, in closed areas where GPS signals might go weak, it will make use of its embedded sensors. LIDAR, a remote sensing technology would be used to meet out this demand, hence, compact LIDAR units provided by Vimeo and Ibeo are employed. These sensors might cost no more than US $300 by 2016.
Currently, experiments are being done on Volkswagen Polos embedded with eight different cameras along with 12 ultrasonic sensors.
Electric cars’ coordinated charging
The project is based on the vision, that with the decrease of CO2 production, mobility too would undergo transformation. In such a scenario, electric cars that would require coordinated charging might come up as the next and obvious demand. Hence, developing a smart car system in areas like valet parking, park, ride and in urban setting where one can provide a reliable advanced driver support would see its heyday
Since the cars would be crawling during the entire operation, which means, the humans probability of behaving unpredictably in such car laden areas too rises hence one of the most important factors for these automobiles would be their ability to decipher static or moving objects and their direction of movement correctly.
The consortium of the project includes, Robert Bosch GmbH, ETH Zurich, Volkswagen AG and contributions from the University of Oxford, Università degli Studi di Parma and Technische Universität Braunschweig. EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research is backing up the project with a funding of 5.63 million euros, with time duration from June 1, 2011 to September 30, 2015.