EXPERIMENTAL self-driving cars continue to make regular forays onto the roads. After a trial in Pittsburgh, Uber launched several of its “autonomous” vehicles onto the streets of San Francisco on December 14th—and promptly ran into a row with officials for not obtaining an operating permit, which Uber insists is unnecessary as the vehicles have a backup driver to take over if something goes wrong.
General Motors said it would begin testing self-driving cars in Michigan. For these and other trials one thing is essential: providing the vehicles with a reliable form of vision.
As no man-made system can yet match a pair of human eyes and the image-processing power of a brain, compromises have to be made. This is why engineers use a belt-and-braces approach in equipping vehicles with sensors that can scan the road ahead.