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BMW, Opel Join Autonomous Driving Research Project

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 5/18/2014 Karla Sanchez

It seems as though everyone is jumping on the autonomous-driving bandwagon lately, and BMW and Opel are no exception. The two automakers have joined a new self-driving initiative dubbed the UR:BAN research project, which focuses specifically on - you guessed it --urban environments.


Autonomous driving is one thing on the highway, but it's completely different in the city. This new project takes all that into account and focuses on all the complex traffic situations that could also potentially involve pedestrians. Funded in part by the German government, the UR:BAN project will continue through 2016 and focus on three different aspects: cognitive assistance, networked traffic system, and human factors in traffic. Cognitive assistance targets collision avoidance by steering and braking, and both BMW and Opel are developing driver assistance systems to tackle that. BMW has been testing the tech on a BMW 5 Series, which already recognizes the shape of pedestrian and which way it's moving. The way it does this is with algorithms that evaluate situations. Opel, on the other hand, relies on advanced cameras on radar with its system. BMW Autnomous Driving Project Drivers Point Of View© Provided by MotorTrend BMW Autnomous Driving Project Drivers Point Of View

"Network traffic system" aims at lowering emissions by making use of information on when traffic lights will switch. This will help drivers approach the intersections at a comfortable speed that will allow them to hit green lights so that they don't have to stop. This will also help in improving traffic. BMW implemented the tech in X5 and 4 Series test vehicles, but testing won't start until later this year. The last pillar, "Human Factors in Traffic," focuses on driver behavior prediction and intention recognition by use of algorithms. Opel Autonomous Driving Project Drivers Point Of View© Provided by MotorTrend Opel Autonomous Driving Project Drivers Point Of View

Volvo has also been working hard around the clock testing autonomous cars in the city by installing magnets in the road.

Source: BMW, Opel

BMW Autnomous Driving Project Testing Procedure© Provided by MotorTrend BMW Autnomous Driving Project Testing Procedure

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