Acura is revving up autonomously.
The automaker is showing off its second self-driving car prototype, an RXL Sport Hybrid.
What’s nice about this second-generation model is that it doesn’t look like an autonomous car covered in sensors. They’re all on the top. The complex testing system, which includes radar, Lidar, camera, and GPS sensors, is mounted on the roof.
The brains behind the system is enhanced intelligent software algorithms. This system is able to sift through and organize all the incoming information from all the sensors in real-time. Acura calls organizing all that knowledge ‘sensor fusion.’ It allows for faster validation of incoming information with the combined knowledge, making it more efficient than using a single, independent, sensor. So in this case two heads, or a boat load of sensors, really is better than one.
Acura says the sensors can detect the position and momentum of surrounding objects. Its cameras spot and identify different objects using their size and shape. The automaker notes this is the same idea used in the AcuraWatch safety suit offered on all its newest models.
This little thinker is being tested at the Honda Research Institute. There it will have the chance to run some paces under the watch of the team on a 5,000-acre automated connected vehicle area in the San Francisco Bay Area. The grounds contain 20-miles of a variety of roads and driving scenarios including a city-like area where sensors have to be on point with the large amount of input.
Acura isn’t the only one whose revving up automated driving this week. Earlier this week, Audi introduced us to “Jack”. It claims the car not only drives itself, but has social skills, too, and is learning to drive like, well, a real person. “Jack” is being tested on a special stretch of highway on the Autobahn.