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MIT and Ford LiDAR Shuttle Services that Can Learn

Ford is teaming up with MIT to measure pedestrian traffic using LiDAR (Light Imaging, Detection, and Radar) and cameras in order to predict demand for on-demand electric shuttle services. The project will use the data from the cameras and LiDAR to send electric shuttle cars to areas of high demand.

The program will start with a small group of teachers and students who will be able to request a shuttle through a mobile app and tell it where to go, and the shuttle will decide the most efficient route to get there.

Because the shuttles are equipped with LiDAR sensing technology, which is much more accurate than GPS, they have learned the most crowded pedestrian areas and are able to carefully navigate these areas or avoid them altogether in order to get you to the pickup location as quickly as possible.

Research is being conducted at the MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics Department’s Aerospace Controls Lab, where autonomous systems are tested for vehicles, aircraft, and spacecraft. ACL director Jonathan How expressed that the project is mutually beneficial for MIT students and the researchers, as a service is provided to the MIT community while the researches are given a controlled environment to test their prediction algorithms.

The Ford LiDAR shuttle services will help contribute to the company’s Dynamic Shuttle Program and ultimately help them develop more accurate autonomous and driver assist technologies.



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