Autodrive Project - Computerphile | Summary and Q&A

August 30, 2018
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Autodrive Project - Computerphile


A project aims to develop affordable autonomous pods for public transportation, capable of navigating through lidar and GPS systems.

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Key Insights

  • 🚶 The autonomous pods aim to exceed walking speeds to fit the council's specifications for shared roadways.
  • 💯 The abandoned testing site provides a perfect location with a kilometer of private track for rigorous testing.
  • 👤 Public feedback and involvement in the project are essential to make the pods meet user expectations and requirements.
  • 🦺 The lidar and GPS systems are being integrated to ensure independent navigation and increased safety.
  • 📽️ Thousands of lidar options are being explored to find the most suitable and affordable one for the project.
  • 🐕‍🦺 The project's goal is to offer an accessible and reliable public transportation service that remains cost-effective for councils.
  • 🧭 The lidar mapping process involves multiple passes to remove transient objects and focus on consistent features.


the top speed of the pod is about um 25 kilometers an hour that's not where we're going to be operating in the range of but that's what it's potential and it can do about 35 kilometers uh on a single charge um so more than that's getting up and down there's the uh it's milking central for quite a few hours we've got about 10 on site today and so we... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How does lidar help in navigating the autonomous pods?

Lidar sensors bounce off walls, buildings, and trees in city centers to help the pods navigate. By strategically placing containers at the testing site, the lidar system can simulate these conditions.

Q: How do passengers access the pods?

Passengers can access the pods by scanning a QR code using their phones. There are also buttons on the inside and outside to open the doors.

Q: What safety features are in place for the pods?

The pods are equipped with a dead man switch, ensuring that the vehicle stops if anything goes wrong. This adds an extra layer of safety during testing and operation.

Q: How will the pods be tested in public settings?

The project plans to start with autonomous trials without passengers and gradually add more stops and passengers. They will also establish a "pod club" phase with 100 people to beta test the pods for their desired destinations.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The top speed of the pod is 25 kilometers per hour, with a range of 35 kilometers per charge.

  • Containers are strategically placed at the testing site to mimic city center conditions for lidar navigation.

  • The project aims to make the autonomous pods affordable for councils by finding the right lidar technology while providing an excellent service.

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