The unmistakable glare of car headlights cutting through the darkness on roads at night could soon vanish thanks to new self-driving technology. Car giant Ford has revealed it is testing the ability of its autonomous vehicles to navigate in pitch black conditions without any headlights. The cars use laser sensing technology, called LiDAR, to map the vehicles' surroundings with infrared light, allowing them to steer along even the most winding country roads. Ford has tested its self-driving cars on winding country roads in pitch darkness to show that the vehicles can navigate at night without any headlights. Ford said it is essential its self-driving vehicles are able to stay on the road at times of the day when they are not able to use its camera technology as there is not enough light.
Driving a car in the middle of the desert at night without any headlights is easy for any driver. The trip becomes a little more challenging if there are obstacles the driver has to avoid, and harder still if there's a road to navigate. At this point, most humans (those without immediate access to a high-quality night vision system) might start to have some trouble. Robots, being much better at this whole driving thing than humans are, don't really care whether there's daylight or street lights, as some recent testing from Ford demonstrates. Google, for the record, has been testing its autonomous cars on public roads in California after dark for a while now.
Facial recognition systems developed for self-driving cars are better at identifying the faces of white people than those of darker skin tones, a study has revealed. Researchers say the inherent racism of these systems likely stems from a lack of dark-skinned individuals included in the training of the tech. The study found databases behind facial recognition technology being built for autonomous cars are up to 12 per cent worse at spotting people with darker skin. On average, the technology is 4.8 per cent more accurate at correctly spotting light-skinned individuals. A system was used with skin tones ranging from one to six, with a higher number linked to darker skin.
Recently we've seen a series of startups arise hoping to make robocars with just computer vision, along with radar. That includes recently unstealthed AutoX, the off-again, on again efforts of comma.ai Their optimism is based on the huge progress being made in the use of machine learning, most notably convolutional neural networks, at solving the problems of computer vision. Milestones are dropping quickly in AI and particularly pattern matching and computer vision. There are reasons pushing some teams this way.