DARPA winning car 'taught' to drive, same as humans are.

From: BillK (pharos@gmail.com)
Date: Fri Oct 21 2005 - 08:30:16 MDT


"Watch me - do it like this!"

Stanley, the robotic car from Stanford University that triumphed in a
recent $2 million race across desert terrain, learned to drive in much
the same way as any 16-year-old: by following the lessons of
experienced humans.

When the Stanford team first started testing Stanley, a blue
sport-utility vehicle, he had a 12 percent blunder rate for ``false
positives'' -- incorrectly assuming 12 percent of the objects in front
of him were obstacles big enough he had to swerve around them.

So the team instructed Stanley's software to take notes while a human
driver maneuvered the car over different types of terrain. By
following this guidance, the false positive rate dropped to one in
50,000 objects.


Thrun, 38, believes robotic driving will someday advance to the point
where human geography is changed. No longer will big office buildings
or shopping centers need to be surrounded by big parking lots.
Instead, cars will dutifully park themselves on the edge of cities,
waiting for a call to come retrieve their owners.

Long before then, robotic systems will save thousands of lives by
taking the wheel at the last moment to prevent accidents caused by
driver error.

Thrun confidently concluded: ``It's a no-brainer to me that cars will
drive themselves.''


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