Engineers at the University of Waterloo have reportedly developed a system to help driverless cars minimise injuries and damage in the event of an unavoidable crash.
The system works by analysing all available options after a collision, and choosing the course of action it concludes will have the least serious outcome.
Engineering and Technology reports that the autonomous vehicle crash-mitigation technology weighs factors such as relative speeds, angles of collision and differences in mass and vehicle type in order to determine the best possible manoeuvre. For example, braking or steering in one direction or another.
Mechanical engineering professor Dongpu Cao said, “We consider the whole traffic environment perceived by the autonomous vehicle, including all the other vehicles and obstacles around it.”
Amir Khajepour, who led the project, told Engineering and Technology that while vehicle safety should improve dramatically with autonomous vehicles, there are just too many uncertainties for self-driving vehicles to handle them all without some mishaps.“There are hundreds, thousands, of variables we have no control over,” he said. “We are driving and all of a sudden there is black ice, for instance, or a boulder rolls down a mountain onto the road.”
The crash-mitigation technology decides how an autonomous vehicle should respond in emergency situations based primarily on pre-defined mathematical calculations considering the severity of crash injuries and damage.