(May 25, 2016) Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden are finding inspiration in animal behavior in the development of a driverless truck.
According to Chalmers.se, the first public demonstration of the vehicle took place on a Dutch motorway on May 28th during a competition for autonomous vehicles, within the framework of an EU project called the Grand Cooperative Driving Challenge.
“Traditionally, the aim has been to try to separate and differentiate all conceivable problems and tackle them using dedicated functions, which means that the system must cover a large number of scenarios. You can cover a large number of different cases, but sooner or later the unexpected occurs, and that’s when an accident could happen,” team leader Ola Benderius said.
“Instead of just one large software program with dedicated functions for all conceivable situations, the team developed small and general behavioural blocks that aim to make the truck react to various stimuli, just like an animal does. The truck is programmed to constantly keep all stimuli within reasonable levels, and it will even continuously learn to do this as efficiently as possible. This makes the framework extremely flexible and good at managing sudden and new dangers,” reported Chalmers.se.
Benderius added, “We are trying to design a system that adapts to whatever happens, without pointing to specific situations – and this is something that even the simplest animals can usually do better than existing vehicle solutions.”
The research is being conducted in the new vehicle lab, Revere (Resource for Vehicle Research), which is run by Chalmers and the vehicle and traffic safety centre Safer, in collaboration with AB Volvo and Volvo Cars, and with financial support from the regional government, Region Västra Götaland, as reported by Chalmers.se.