Mobileye, a division of Intel, has expanded its testing of autonomous vehicles (AVs) to New York City to help demonstrate self-driving capabilities in one of the largest cities in North America.
Mobileye received a testing permit to drive AVs on New York City streets earlier this year and claims it is the only company currently holding an AV testing permit in the city.
Mobileye’s camera-only AV subsystem is driving through New York City on congested streets filled with pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers, double-parked vehicles, construction zones, emergency vehicles, tunnels and bridges. The system includes a computer-vision subsystem in addition to a lidar/radar subsystem for redundancy.
“Driving in complex urban areas such as New York City is a crucial step in vetting the capabilities of an autonomous system and moving the industry closer to commercial readiness,” said Amnon Shashua, senior vice president of Intel and president and CEO of Mobileye.
During testing, Mobileye found the following common issues with NYC traffic:
- Pedestrians — Jaywalking is rampant in NYC coupled with high numbers of pedestrians. AVs must make assumptions about the behavior of pedestrians and factor those into driving policy.
- Drivers — Streets are clogged and drivers are aggressive. Cabbies and other professionals are particularly more assertive than in most cities.
- Double-parking — NYC is not only famous for the frequency of delivery vehicles, but also for the number of delivery vehicles double parking along city streets.
- Traffic density — While NYC boasts low vehicle ownership, the city has more cabs, limos, buses, trucks and other vehicles than any other city.
- Construction — NYC is constantly under construction and this data must be saved in AV maps. Mobileye receives data about blocked or closed lanes from cars already on the road.
- Tunnels and bridges — There are 15 tunnels and 21 bridges in the NYC area, all with narrow lanes. Mobileye’s crowd-source mapping tech is trained with a sensing system to understand these lanes and the cones that may be present.
- City noise — Manhattan is electrified at night and visual noise and light pollution is difficult for an AV sensing system, but Mobileye said it has an algorithm for enabling AVs to handle the city noise.