Volvo proposes to modify the road surface for unmanned vehicles

    There are different views on how unmanned vehicles should work. For example, Google stuffs them with sensors and radars to recognize markings and road signs. The problem is that such an approach is too expensive: for example, Google’s machines have additional equipment for $ 150 thousand installed. Maybe it’s more logical to modify not each car individually, but to create a new infrastructure that is understandable for cheap electronics?

    Volvo offers a radically new approach: incorporate magnets into the roadway . To test the technology, the company equipped with magnets a 100-meter section of the race track in Hallered (Sweden) and launched specially modified unmanned S60 sedans on it.

    The experiment showed that even relatively simple and cheap magnetic sensors are able to confidently detect magnets in the roadway at a vehicle speed of up to 145 km / h (in the experiment we used 40x15 mm ferrite magnets at a depth of 200 mm below the asphalt surface).

    Volvo engineers calculated that in order to drive confidently in the middle of the lane, the machine needs to read 400 readings of magnetic sensors per second, while conventional sensors read only 3 readings per second. Therefore, an experiment with five modules was used for the experiment, on each of which 15 blocks with Honeywell sensors were installed. Together, they delivered 500 reads per second.

    At a speed of 72 km / h, a cheap grill worth $ 109 positioned the car with an accuracy of 10 cm.

    According to Volvo, adding such magnets at the asphalt paving stage costs only $ 24,405 per kilometer of two-lane road. If the calculations are correct, then it is more profitable than installing marking recognition systems for each car. Especially taking into account the overall benefit for the global economy from the introduction of unmanned vehicles, which, for example, Morgan Stanley experts estimate at $ 5.6 trillion annually.

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