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Demonstrating a Driverless Future

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A passenger in a driverless car.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they have developed on an autonomous vehicle capable of navigating urban roads and highways without human intervention.

Credit: Chris Young/AFP/Getty Images

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) researchers say they have developed one of the most advanced autonomous vehicles ever designed, capable of navigating on urban roads and highways without human intervention. The car was developed over more than a decade with the support of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and General Motors.

The researchers say they have advanced the underlying technology associated with autonomous vehicles, including sensors, software, wireless communications, and network integration. "This technology has been enabled by remarkable advances in the seamless blend of computation, networking, and control into physical objects--a field known as cyber-physical systems," says NSF deputy director Cora Marrett.

CMU's overall goal is to develop a driverless car that can decrease injuries and fatalities on roads. "Because computers don't get distracted, sleepy, or angry, they can actually keep us much safer--that is the promise of this technology," says CMU professor Raj Rajkumar. The car's autonomous systems control the steering, speed, and braking, in addition to detecting and avoiding obstacles in the road, such as pedestrians and bicyclists.

From National Science Foundation
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