At a Yale University speech several years ago, Peter Thiel, the founder of PayPal joked, “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140-characters”. Well, flying cars are still in the future, and so are self-driving cars. Yet, some autonomous vehicles have found homes in the most unlikely of industries.
The rules and regulations which keep our roads safe are also hindering our ability to realize self-driving cars. Yet, safety measures abound ready to ‘plug-and-play’ the safe handling of you in the driver’s seat and those with whom you share the road. Hands off the steering wheel, of course.
Three Ways Computer Vision is Preparing for Driverless Cars
- 3-D Mapping for RealTime Learning – much like your backing camera on your latest automobile, car cameras can also record live footage to map their environment. From this Data, autonomous vehicles can spot obstacles or determine alternate paths.
- Sensing Obstacles and Objects – using sensors to determine what the obstacle or object in the road is – whether it’s pedestrians, other vehicles, or even something as simple as a loose bag or cardboard flap. If it’s something you’d have to drive around to avoid hitting, shouldn’t your car know this, too?
- Gathering Detailed Data – can help your self-driving vehicle identify traffic lights, road conditions, and congestion.
Each of these elements are steps to a more reliable experience, once driverless cars come on the scene. In the meantime, there’s an old industry bringing machine and human together like never before. Building for the future
is employing robotics, AI, and Computer Vision technologies for seamless integration.
Building Technology: Computer Vision Meets Construction Sites
It’s backbreaking work to move dirt from one place to another, but if you’re going to build, it’s the first thing to be done. It’s also the most repetitious and mundane. Enter autonomous heavy equipment.
These machines prepare the sites for the human crews who will come in later to do the building itself. Before panic sets in that robots are replacing people, understand that people can still move faster than these large machines. The idea behind automating processes is to ensure projects remain on schedule using consistent, reliable resources; man and machine working together.
Yet, there is one place where man shines and machine does not. Controlled chaos and changing conditions. The Computer Vision elements employed here can help systems to recognize things such basics as utility lines and variances such as historical artifacts. Finding something like an archeological site or historical artifact can stall or stop a project. But whether the site’s on track to finish on schedule or a glitch throws a curveball into the schedule, the site still needs to be protected. Who better than a drone?
Safety First – Construction Site to Driver’s Seat
Autonomous vehicles whether on the road or in the sky offer a unique view of their environment. Just as driverless cars are employing 3D mapping and object identification, drones are being used to help navigate and manage construction-size projects. Below are a few ways they’re making waves:
- Predictive Modelling using Computer Vision - predict how much on-site material may be needed.
- Put together prefabricated parts
- Track progress and watch for things like structural issues, number of trucks entering a site, even if teams are following best practices.
Though driverless cars are still future forward ideas, driverless trucks, and other autonomous heavy equipment are in the driver’s seat. Making the idea of working with machines exciting to the professionals in the industry is one way to make the idea more palatable. The move to intelligent, more reliable systems to keep projects and people on track, on budget, safe, and to ultimately solve a problem offers bold solutions for the future.
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