Colony Presents: Traffic Navigation (Video)
OCTOBER 23, 2011 | ALEX ZIRBEL
Self-driving cars are the future of road transportation. These cars must not just be able to follow roads and laws, but also be able to navigate and interact safely with other vehicles and objects in their environment. Using a central hub to manage such traffic is not only inefficient, but dangerous because the hub presents a single point of failure. Thus, a system that distributes the management of traffic among the individual cars themselves proves to be more reliable and feasible.
By abstracting the complexities of navigation in a real world environment, Colony focused on having the robots work together for better traffic flow on a simulated road map.
The robots will demonstrate the kinds of behaviors necessary for safe and efficient travel in a city-like environment with other vehicular traffic and unknown road conditions. When a robot reaches an intersection, it checks with other robots to make sure the intersection is free. If not, it adds itself to a queue that manages each intersection, so the robots reach their destinations as quickly as possible.
Colony did this work last year and presented at Meeting of the Minds, Carnegie Mellon's undergraduate research symposium. But we never published it here, and it's such great work, we thought we'd share it in retrospect.