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松ヶ谷和沖×島下泰久

#7Recognition sensors required for automated driving①


As was described in Chapter 1, vehicle driving behavior consists of three stages, which are 'Recognition', 'Judgment' and 'Operation'. Automated driving can be defined as driving that a part or all of those behaviors are performed by the vehicle on behalf of the human driver.

Among them, recognition technology evolves very rapidly. Recognizing surrounding conditions correctly is the basic requirement for driving. The evolution in recognition has great impact on the advancement of active safety and the realization of automated driving.

Then, in the first place, what does the vehicle have to see to 'recognize' for driving? If you think of how you drive, you may notice that you need to recognize other vehicles in your vicinity while driving. When there are other vehicles around you, the basic behavior is keeping a safe distance to them, and following a vehicle driving in front of you. In a nutshell, the basic function is to check where other vehicles are located, and detect the distance to them. Laser radar or LIDAR is a device to perform that basic function. It was put into practical use for trucks to implement the following distance alert in 1996. It was still a primitive model that alerted the driver with gradual deceleration when it detected a vehicle in front.

The laser radar at that level might not detect surrounding vehicles accurately in the rain or fog where laser beam may be dispersed. Actually, systems such as ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control) and Front Following Distance Alert were automatically disabled when the windshield wiper was turned on.