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.