AutoNOMOS Robotic Taxi Called By iPad App

The AutoNOMOS project has created MadeInGermany, an autonomous Volkswagen Passat that can be called with an iPad app. The user can check the location of the car as it approaches; once picked up, the user sets the destination through the app.

"MadeInGermany is a modified Volkswagen Passat Variant 3c. Latest LIDAR/ RADAR sensor technology, as well as cameras, help to overview its surrounding area (see sketch below for details). A special GPS system gives information about the position. The car's intelligence is based on software, which is implemented on computing systems located in the trunk compartment.

The car is also equipped with Drive-by-Wire technology, meaning that the CAN-Bus, which is the control center of modern vehicles, can be accessed directly by our computers. This way engine, brakes, steering and other actuating elements are able to send their sensor-values via CAN-Bus and can also receive commands. For example, a processor connected to the CAN-Bus is therefore able to use the brake or accelerate the pace.

Most of the required electromechanical modifications on the original vehicle were performed by the Volkswagen Research Garage. The "Operating System for intelligent cars" is one of the key research topics of the Artificial Intelligence Group at the Freie Universitšt Berlin. The Innovation Lab AutoNOMOS is funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research in the framework of the German High-Tech Strategy."

(AutoNOMOS project video)

SF fans recall the robot cabs from Philip K. Dick's 1952 story A Present for Pat, as well as the autonomous Tin Cabbie from James Blish's Cities in Flight.

Fans of Larry Niven's A World Out of Time recall the autonomous bubble cars:

She gestured him ahead of her, toward a bubble-car...

Mirelly-Lyra gestured to him to slide over... and climbed in beside him. She bent to the console, hesitated, then punched in numbers.

The car moved smoothly away. Mirelly-Lyra half relaxed; she was not steering. Already, Corbell knew that he could not return by car. He didn't know the destination number of the house.
(Read more about Niven's bubble car)

Learn more at the AutoNOMOS autonomous car project.

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