Zoox startup shows record of Robomobile’s one-hour San Francisco tripApril 21, 2020
California-based startup Zoox has posted a video of an hour-long car ride driven by artificial intelligence, not a driver. Robomobile traveled around the suburbs of San Francisco and performed all sorts of complex maneuvers on a multi-lane road with heavy traffic and pedestrian crossings.
Sometimes it’s really better to show once than to tell ten times. This is the view taken at Zoox, one of the most successful unmanned aerial technology companies. In 2018, a California startup was one of the first to receive permission from the Department of Transportation to test robotic vehicles with an insurance driver. But dry numbers are not always able to convince skeptics, like video, of the safety of drones.
The record, which Zoox posted on the network, shows the Toyota Highlander, equipped with 18 cameras, a dozen radars and eight lidars, recording everything that happens around. In parts of San Francisco, this array of sensors allows you to track the movement of hundreds of people and vehicles simultaneously at a distance of 130 meters from the drone, Venture Beat writes.
The robomobile slows down to red, makes a left turn at the intersection of six roads and passes through the tunnel without using GPS, climbs up the steep hill that this city is famous for, turns right at the intersection, goes down the hill and overtakes.
According to Sarah Tarik, director of machine vision at Zoox, vehicle systems detect, classify and identify obstacles and behaviors that are not visible on the record. For example, the colors of traffic lights, trams, buses, traffic cones on repaired sections of the road, as well as open car doors and various types of animals. The system also notes what pedestrians are doing: whether they are looking at the phone, pushing a stroller in front of them or riding a scooter.
For the sake of safety, Zoox taught her decision-making system to be conservative – if some object seems to her to be human, even if there is no complete certainty, she classifies it as a human being, just in case. Accuracy in this case is not as important as safety.
In the future, the company intends to move from re-equipped Toyota to drone-made drones from scratch, the appearance of which Zoox has already announced in the past. Nobody has seen the concept art yet, but according to the description it will be an electric car the size of a BMW i3 with cameras and lidars, four-wheel steering and a dual battery.
At the beginning of the year, California issued a permit for testing driverless robots with a driver to the most distinguished companies in this field – Cruise, Zoox, Waymo, Pony.ai, Aurora and AutoX. The remaining 66 developers registered in California can only test drones with an operator in the driver’s seat.
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