TalTech working with Florida university on autonomous vehicle research

Florida Polytechnic students Chris Medrano and Josh Santos run one of their simulations for autonomous vehicle sensors.
Florida Polytechnic students Chris Medrano and Josh Santos run one of their simulations for autonomous vehicle sensors. Source: Bradley George/WUSF

Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) is working with a university in the United States, focusing on getting driverless vehicles real-world ready, writes Bradley George of West Central Florida public broadcaster WUSF Public Media.

TalTech is working with Florida Polytechnic University, and the latter is making use of the ISEAUTO prototype developed by TalTech.

According to the university, the prototype is a good fit for students learning about driverless cars.

"In the U.S, most Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) are being built by private entities, and you don't have easy access to the inner workings of the vehicle," said Rahul Razdan, who oversees special projects at Florida Polytechnic.

At about 11 feet (3.35 meters) long and five feet (1.5 meters) wide, the ISEAUTO looks like a small tram.  With standing room for about four passengers, Razdan said it could be a shuttle for transit riders on the last mile of their journey. 

"That's likely where this technology will become, as it were, real, well before the car that takes you everywhere by verbal command," he said. 

Florida students will eventually work with a full-size ISEAUTO prototype. For the moment, they're using a smaller model. 

Instead of eyes, self-driving cars rely on sensors, such as motion detectors. Graduate student Chris Medrano and his colleagues in the university's Advanced Mobility Institute are testing how these sensors react to rain, pedestrians, cyclists, and billions of other scenarios.

"You kind of have to turn into a sort of language that the machine can understand," Medrano said.

All modes of transportation could benefit from Florida Polytechnic and TalTech's research. Planes, ships, and trains might one day use the same sensor technology as driverless cars.

More on the driverless car research and the cooperation between TalTech and Florida Polytechnic University is here.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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