Researchers Seek Ways to Improve Autonomous Vehicle Vision in Rain

Autonomous vehicles are the future of transportation. It is projected that by 2030, autonomous cars will make up 75% of all cars on the road! Driving in rain conditions can be challenging for any driver – human or machine. With this in mind, researchers are working to improve vision systems for autonomous vehicles to help them see through wet weather.

The weather can change in an instant, and that is a big problem for autonomous vehicles. Autonomous vehicles are designed to see the world with sensors that detect and interpret their surroundings. But when rain falls on the sensors, it disrupts the vehicle’s ability to see its environment clearly.

This makes driving in rainy conditions dangerous for humans as well as autonomous cars. Researchers at MIT have been working diligently on a fix for this problem- they are testing “smart” windshield wipers that will help keep rain from interfering with sensor vision while also clearing away debris caused by other drivers or pedestrians!

What is an Autonomous Vehicle?

An autonomous vehicle is a car that drives on its own, without the need for human input. There are two types of levels of autonomy- level 0 to Level I and Levels II to III. At level 0, there is no automation at all – so someone must be in control of the steering wheel and pedals.

On levels I or II, the vehicle can steer itself, accelerate and brake. And on Level III, self-driving cars are at their full potential – they don’t even have a steering wheel or pedals!

Level II to Level III autonomous vehicles are available for purchase in 2020 from Tesla Motors.

What are some examples of autonomous vehicles?

Who doesn’t dream of the day when they don’t have to drive their car anymore? The world is rapidly changing and technology has been advancing at rapid rates.

Autonomous vehicles are becoming a reality, but there’s still so much that needs to be worked out before we can use them on roads without fear for our lives.

The first thing you might think about autonomous cars would be how safe they are from cyber hijacking. It turns out this was one of Ford Motor Company’s main concerns as well because unlike traditional automobiles were hacking into the system could lead to total loss or interruption in driving capabilities, with an autonomous vehicle it may only affect certain functions like steering control which will give drivers time enough not crash until emergency services arrive if necessary.

There are still many issues to be worked out, but autonomous vehicles are the future of transportation.

Researchers have been working diligently on a fix for this problem- they’re testing “smart” windshield wipers that will help keep rain from interfering with sensor vision while also clearing away debris caused by other drivers or pedestrians!

How do we know what will happen when autonomous vehicles are on the roads?

Some people might not be surprised to know that there has been a lot of research done in this area already. One study found that fatal crashes went down by 40% with self-driving cars!

Another study focused specifically on how “smart” windshield wipers could help keep rain from interfering with sensor vision- which is a big advantage of autonomous vehicles.

The research team at MIT found that the “smart” windshield wipers had an added bonus: they also cleared away debris, like leaves and dirt on the street!

Autonomous cars are becoming more common in some areas, but there’s still so much to be done before they can be used on the roads without fear for our lives.

An algorithm based on machine learning to identify raindrops falling

One such system, from researchers at the University of Michigan and Osaka University in Japan, uses an algorithm based on machine learning to identify raindrops falling into a camera’s view.

They tested this approach using two video cameras mounted inside a vehicle driving down the road during heavy rains. The water drops are picked up by one camera and leave trails as they fall. The lines from each camera are combined to form a blurry afterimage of the raindrop and its path on the ground, which is then processed by a machine-learning algorithm that can tell where these drops landed.

The researchers found their system was accurate 98% of the time in identifying landings within 25 cm (about nine inches) of their target. This is important because it can be difficult for a driver to see the ground during heavy rain, which limits visibility and creates more potential hazards on the road.

Another approach is being investigated by researchers at MIT who are looking into how autonomous vehicles might use lidar (also called “laser radar”) in order to generate accurate maps of the road ahead. Lidar sends out bursts of laser light that bounce off distant objects and return to a sensor, providing information about distance measurements between the vehicle and other objects.

The MIT researchers found that when lidar is used for mapping in rain conditions the pulses can be obscured by water droplets or mists floating in the air. This can make it difficult for a lidar system to accurately measure distances and locations of the world around it, leading to errors in map generation.

The researchers found that by using wider laser pulses or splitting up each pulse into multiple shorter bursts they increased the accuracy with which objects could be identified and measured without error from raindrops or mists.

This also had the added benefit of making map generation much faster than before, which could be a key factor in saving lives when autonomous vehicles are deployed on our roads.

Conclusion

Autonomous vehicles are the future of transportation. It is projected that by 2030, autonomous cars will make up 75% of all cars on the road! Driving in rainy conditions can be challenging for any driver – human or machine.

With this in mind, researchers are working to improve vision systems for autonomous vehicles to help them see through wet weather.

Autonomous vehicles have a long way to go before they are safe and reliable for everyone. They can’t be trusted in bad weather, which is about half of the days that we experience every year!

The future of autonomous vehicles will likely require sensors on both sides of the car so it can see through all types of rain from front to back. This would be expensive and difficult to implement, so for now researchers are trying other ways to make the sensors work better.