MRG Researcher Dr Will Maddern talks about the autonomous car

Dr Will Maddern of Oxford’s Mobile Robotics Group explains to Gizmodo why GPS alone is not sufficient to guide the driverless car:

“I’m often asked, ‘Why not just use GPS?’” Will Maddern quips. He’s a researcher with the University of Oxford’s Mobile Robotics Group, which has developed Robot Car. “This is actually a very sensible question: the GPS satellite constellation is a stunning engineering achievement.”

The problem is that GPS has some major limitations. First, it doesn’t work without a clear view of the sky—so navigating tunnels, indoor car parks or even forests is ruled out. More importantly, it has a resolution on the order of meters, which is certainty not enough to safely navigate a car through city streets, where mere centimeters can mean the difference between safety and a collision.

“We often use GPS to kick-start our localization algorithms,” admits Maddern, “but we do not rely on it to tell us where in the road lane the car is.” Instead, self-driving cars learn to identify their position on the road in completely different way.

Read the full article which describes how MRG’s approach work here: