Driverless Cars Need Ears as Well as Eyes

YOU NEED JUST two eyes and two ears to drive. Those remarkable sensors provide all the info you need to, say, know that a fire engine is coming up fast behind you, so get out of the way. Autonomous vehicles need a whole lot more than that. They use half a dozen cameras to see everything around them, radars to know how far away it all is, and at least one lidar laser scanner to map the world. Yet even that may not be enough.

To understand why, think about that fire engine. Your ears hear it approaching from behind, and your stereoscopic sound can determine where it is, where it’s headed, and how fast. Hearing plays an essential role in how you navigate the world, and, so far, most autonomous cars can’t hear.

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Mike Rawson

Mike Rawson has recently re-awoken a long-standing interest in robots and our automated future.

He lives in London with a single android – a temperamental vacuum cleaner – but is looking forward to getting more cyborgs soon.

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Driverless Cars Need Ears as Well as Eyes

by Mike Rawson time to read: 1 min
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