LAS VEGAS — The latest developments surrounding the consumer-electronics show in Las Vegas known as CES (all times local):
No matter how many cameras, lasers and radar sensors a car has, it will still need super-detailed road maps to drive by itself. Here, a German company owned by Audi, BMW and Mercedes, and Mobileye out of Israel are making the maps, and both will rely on data gathered by cameras and other sensors that are showing up in cars today.
Mobileye, General Motors and Volkswagen announced deals this week to start gathering the data. GM vehicles with forward-facing cameras will start providing it later this year through the OnStar system, while VW has plans to send data in 2018. Eventually Mobileye hopes to get the rest of the auto industry on board with crowd-sourced data to make the mapping accurate to within a few centimeters.
Google and other companies are working on sensors that can read lane lines and monitor other cars and pedestrians. But cameras can’t see in low sunlight and bad weather, and radar and laser have limitations.
Here is using data from other cars as well as truck fleets and roadside sensors to build its map. The company announced basic mapping of North America and Western Europe (topography, number of lanes and their width, etc.) and is working to make detailed maps of the entire highway network in both places by 2018. The detailed maps rely on car sensors and computers that record the distance from fixed roadside landmarks such as signs.
“The detailed map allows you to see beyond sensing,” said Amnon Shashua, chief technical officer and chairman of Mobileye. “Road landmarks resolve ambiguity in sensing.”
Eventually the map computers will record the actual speed and behavior of cars to guide autonomous vehicles in traffic, said Alex Mangan, Here’s product marketing manager. “Building a map at this scale with this level of detail, it takes time,” he said. “This is a self-maintaining map.”
— Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer, Las Vegas
Segway wants its next scooter to scoot to you.
The company, which pioneered the notion of zooming about town perched on two wheels long before the “hoverboard” craze, showed off a motorized scooter equipped with a pair of blinking eyes. Powered by Android, the scooter should be able to see you and its surroundings even in the dark — while filming everything.
Which should be helpful when it acts as a personal robot. The company demonstrated Wednesday how the scooter can respond to voice commands while following closely behind you, recording video as it goes. Or you can send it off on its own path, avoiding obstacles along the way.
The company says its robot will travel more than 18 miles on a single charge at a speed of up to 11 miles per hour and weigh a little more than 30 pounds. Segway, which is working with Intel on the project, expects its prototype to be a reality by early 2017, perhaps just in time for the next CES.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich says the robot could have industrial and commercial uses, including carrying home groceries home from a supermarket run.
— Kimberly Pierceall, AP Writer, Las Vegas