Imagine if all the roads and streets of a city were empty. With no other cars and no variables like pedestrians, it would be relatively easy to direct an autonomous car from one place to another. But what about 20,000 autonomous cars all trying to get to and from different places? Each car has a different goal. One car might be delivering a package, another might be driving someone to work and still, another could be an emergency vehicle taking a patient to a hospital. How does each individual autonomous car account for their own particular goal and for these many variables?
According to Dr. P.R. Kumar, Texas A&M University Distinguished Professor in electrical and computer engineering, they can’t yet.
“Autonomous cars presently are mostly like lone wolves,” Kumar said. “They have all these sensors and capabilities to create a highly precise map of the environment and they can thread their way through the traffic, but they don’t collaborate with other vehicles, they’re not a system.”
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