on April 5th, 2016

Should self-driving cars get their own lane? That is the question left in everyone's minds after Volvo's CEO, Lex Kerssemakers, saw that one of their autonomous vehicles couldn't see the lane it was supposed to be driving in due to how shoddily the lanes looked due to wear and tear. Something that should interest civil engineers all over the world. 

Kerssemakers was at the LA Auto Show with the mayor of Los Angeles. Things got heated when the car wouldn't drive to which Kerssemakers shouted, "It can't find the lane markings. You need to paint the bloody roads here."

According to Reuters, 65% of roads are in poor condition, which would render autonomous cars useless if they cannot read and calculate without lane markings. Autonomous vehicles already struggle in rainy weather conditions as well, in a long list of hurdles that need to be overcome before they make these vehicles commercially available. 

Christoph Mertz, a research scientist at Carnegie Mellon University, speaking to Reuters, said, "If the lane fades, all hell breaks loose. But cars have to handle these weird circumstances and have three different ways of doing things in case one fails."

But what about at night when visibility is questionable even with headlights and lamposts? Will these cars still be able to function then? 

Mercedes is quite confident they might have an answer in their new 2017 E Class. It utilizes what is called 'Driver Pilot' and consists of 23 sensors that would be able to make observations on the road that would detect guard rails, barriers, and cars. The kicker is that it doesn't require lane markings to stay in a lane. 

 

 


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