Researchers at U of Waterloo say self-driving cars can help make Canadian roads safer

Years of research tells us that human error has long been the biggest factor behind road fatalities in Canada. With the Ontario government’s recent approval of a three-year self-driving car research program at the University of Waterloo, Canadian roads could become a lot safer.

“The autonomous systems … allow the car to stop and to pick up on danger before the accident happens,” says Pearl Sullivan, dean of the faculty of engineering at U of Waterloo and a researcher with the Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research, or WatCAR. The WatCAR project is the first university-based initiative to be granted permission to test self-driving cars on Ontario roads.

Each researcher working on the project will apply their expertise to the autonomous system of a Lincoln MKZ hybrid sedan, nicknamed “Autonomoose”, and help solve problems as they arise, says Krzysztof Czarnecki, a professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering at U of Waterloo. As contributors program the car’s systems, including lidar, forward-visioning and mapping, the vehicle will “learn” to drive. For example, while a human drives the car, the vehicle’s lidar system takes a 360-degree image of the driving surface, which enables the car to “remember” the road.

Read the full story at universityaffairs.ca.

Victoria Krisman is Interactive Media Specialist for the Intelligent Community Forum.
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