Oxbotica, the award-winning Oxford-based autonomous vehicle software company that is challenging Silicon Valley tech giants, has announced the release of its pioneering camera-based localisation software for autonomous vehicles, Dub4.
Dub4 addresses a key challenge of autonomy - the question of where the vehicle is at any point in time. Currently running as the primary localiser on Oxbotica's driverless car prototype, Geni, and on the GATEway pods in Greenwich, London, the software uses a single stereo camera mounted onto the car to determine its precise position and orientation in the world. With this localisation information, the software is then able to create and navigate using vision based maps in highly unstructured environments without any reliance on GPS or expensive laser-based techniques.
"We're excited to be working on deployment of our class-leading Dub4 software solution, as part of our mission to achieve Level 4 autonomy by 2020. What we've done with Dub4 has never been done before and it represents a seismic shift for the self-driving vehicle industry, enabling a move away from GPS and 3D laser-based approaches. We're paving the way for more affordable and accurate solutions in the industry," said Chief Executive Officer, Graeme Smith, Oxbotica.
Signalling a shift in driverless technology from expensive lasers to camera-based vision software, Dub4 is the first localisation system to rely purely on camera technology. Developed by Oxbotica and the researchers at Oxford University's Oxford Robotics Institute, Dub4 has been tested on thousands of kilometres of data across different cities, warehouses and off-road environments. The software automatically updates its model of the world to adapt to changing environmental conditions such weather, lighting and season. Dub4 is robust where GPS technology is prone to failure - under tree cover, in urban canyons and indoors.
Operating as a standalone application on commodity PC hardware, Dub4 can be integrated onto any platform equipped with cameras and used to provide low-cost localisation and navigation to applications ranging from warehousing to self-driving vehicles.
Selenium is Oxbotica's autonomous control system, a vehicle agnostic operating system that can work on anything from forklifts, to cargo pods, to vehicles. The software uses the knowledge of where it is in the world, together with local information about the environment around the vehicle, to determine a safe path and velocity to move the vehicle towards its goal.
Caesium is Oxbotica's fleet management system, a cloud-based service that will schedule and co-ordinate their fleet of autonomous vehicles, enabling smartphone booking, route optimisation and data exchange between the vehicles without human intervention.
GATEway (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment) is an £8m research project, led by TRL and jointly funded by Innovate UK and industry, to understand and overcome the technical, legal and societal challenges of implementing automated vehicles in an urban environment.
Taking place in Greenwich, one of the UK's leading smart cities, the project will trial and validate a series of different use cases for automated vehicles, including driverless shuttles and automated urban deliveries.
Source and top image: Oxbotica
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