May 19, 2017

VTT’s autonomous cars hit the roads

Martti is upfront about its environment perception system.
Martti is upfront about its environment perception system.
VTT

The automated cars ‘Marilyn’ and ‘Martti’, developed by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, have been road tested and are exchanging information with each other.

The cars can hear, see and sense. In addition to following a pre-planned route, they can also avoid sudden obstacles without human interference.

At this stage, the vehicles still require lane markings or the road sides to be visible, but by 2020 the cars will be driving on snow- and gravel-covered roads.

“Our cars already have enough equipment required for automated driving, and now we are taking the most out of them with software technology,” says project manager Matti Kutila from VTT.

VTT's Marilyn is the first automated car to receive a road traffic testing permit in Finland.

VTT’s Marilyn is the first automated car to receive a road traffic testing permit in Finland.

VTT

The cars use cameras, radars and sensors for observing people and animals, and scanning surroundings vehicles. GPS is used for positioning, and the sensors and actuators are connected with intelligence that enables the cars to move as planned.

The autonomous duo are also able to exchange information with each other, and later this year they will be able to communicate with the public digital infrastructure.

“The communications channel of the automated cars is open, but the messages are not yet fully compliant with the standards,” Kutila explains. “Come autumn, the cars will exchange information in a standard format, also allowing others to talk with them.”

The next step is to increase the capabilities of the cars and improve their intelligence.

“Today, the automation of traffic is generally speaking just taking its first steps – the big things will not come until 2021 and later,” Kukila points out.

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