Automated Drive West: What VSI Discovered on the 2,000+ Mile Drive
In August 2019, VSI Labs embarked on a 2,000+ mile cross-country road trip with one of our research vehicles. VSI’s vehicle drove from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Santa Clara, California by applying AV applications on highways. The primary purpose of the Automated Drive West (ADW) project was to test the benefit of using precision lanes models and GNSS localization with real-time kinematic (RTK) corrections to improve the performance and safety of highway autonomous driving applications. Furthermore, we were seeking to better understand how these technologies operate across varying terrains, weather, and driving conditions throughout the project.
The ADW was the first experiment in which VSI attempted a cross-country highway drive in AV mode. This article walks through our observations and findings throughout the drive.
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Commercializing Localization for Automated Driving: Absolute vs. Relative
In order for an AV to navigate automatically and reliably, it must be able to locate itself on a map with high precision and always maintain its position accurately. This is called real-time precision localization.
Precision localization based on absolute positions from multiple measurements coupled with GNSS correction is currently being commercialized in L2+ automated applications. As of now, taking advantage of such technologies is the most practical way to commercialize precision localization systems and meet production cost targets of passenger vehicle OEMs as opposed to landmark-based relative localization approach.
This article will examine the fundamentals of precision positioning technologies and identify major players in this space.