A new system in cars that could reduce the chance of a collision by 14 times has been developed by allowing the vehicles to gain a 3D view of an area to negotiate blind corners.
The 'CarSpeak' system developed by researchers, including an Indian scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology lets vehicles 'see' out of the robotic eyes of other cars on the road.
An autonomous car connected to CarSpeak would be able to cruise through, provided with a continuous 3D view of the area created from information captured by other cars, or by a sensor fixed in place to help with the blind spot.
That continuous 3D view consists of a cloud of millions of points generated by on-board laser mapping equipment, and it involves a huge amount of data, the New Scientist reported.
Sending all the information to every car on the road would quickly overwhelm any wireless network.
"There are hundreds of cars on the highway, and getting sensory data from all of them would be huge data congestion," says Dina Katabi, project leader for CarSpeak at MIT.
So, instead, CarSpeak allows cars to request a view of specific sections of the environment that they are unable to 'see' themselves, with other cars passing information back to the requesting car.
The system works out which regions are facing the most demand and then assigns more bandwidth to those sections as needed, speeding the process up.
So far, the system has been tested on golf buggies in Singapore.
Vehicles with CarSpeak navigated through their test environment more than twice as fast as vehicles using simple wireless to relay data, and were 14 times less likely to be involved in a collision with an unseen obstacle.
The research was presented at the SIGCOMM conference in Finland last month.
Swarun Kumar, a lead researcher on CarSpeak, says that the next step will be a larger-scale test with multiple full-sized cars.