The roads could become a little less hazardous thanks to researchers from MIT. Sterling Anderson and Karl Iagnemma have developed the “intelligent co-pilot,” a semi-autonomous safety system that takes over a car when a collision with an obstacle is imminent, steering the car around the danger before returning control to the driver.
Created with the help of MIT’s Robotic Mobility Group, the system uses an onboard camera and laser rangefinder to map a vehicle’s environment and identify the hazards, according to MIT News. The duo developed an algorithm to analyze the data and highlight the safe zones, forcing the system to take the wheel from the driver when they’re about to leave a safe zone.
“When you are driving safely, the system runs in the background, monitoring the vehicle’s environment and your performance,” explains Anderson in the video below. “But if you make a mistake, one serious enough to cause a collision or loss of control, it intervenes to ensure you avoid it.”
Anderson’s been testing the system in Michigan since last September, and has run over 1,200 trials with only few collisions. Right now, the team is focused on tailoring the system to various levels of driving experience. Anderson admits beginning drivers could wind up thinking they are better drivers than they actually are, and doesn’t want them to become dependent on the system.
“The real innovation is enabling the car to share [control] with you,” Anderson told MIT News. “If you want to drive, it’ll just … make sure you don’t hit anything.”
To see the system in action, just check out the video below.