Driverless cars will soon be non-fiction

February 26, 2016

Driverless or autonomous vehicles are more a looming reality rather than the science fiction as they are often portrayed.

A McMaster Mechanical Engineering professor and a team of researchers are working on technology to help make these cars of the not-so-distant future safe on the road.

Saeid Habibi, a Senior Industrial Research Chair at McMaster, is developing a system to allow vehicles to closely monitor their surrounding traffic using 3D imaging.

Using Lidar technology, a sensor that measures distance by illuminating targets with a laser light, and video cameras, Habibi is working on a system to monitor nearby traffic and predict future driving patterns to avoid accidents and pinpoint problem drivers with heightened accuracy.

“When it comes to people’s lives, the goal is to get to a margin of error of zero,” said Habibi.

“We’re able to very accurately determine the speed, positioning, velocity and acceleration of cars around you.”

Habibi recently took his research on the road to the Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto. A Ford C-MAX ENERGI from Habibi’s lab featuring a Lidar system was on display.

The main thrust of his research has been developing theories that will make monitoring and detection in self-driving cars more robust and far more precise.

Habibi intends to commercialize his technology, which will take about five or six years to get to market.