An Artificial Intelligence road trip

Can autonomous vehicles of the future adapt to an Australian road trip.

Queensland researchers are making headway in the world of driverless vehicles with plans to take an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system on a south-east Queensland road trip.

The road trip will test if autonomous vehicles of the future can adapt to Australian road conditions.

QUT Professor Michael Milford said a driver would take an electric Renault fitted with high-tech sensors and computers on a 1200km road trip through a wide range of driving conditions.

“Engineers at QUT’s Research Engineering Facility have developed a research car platform equipped with a range of state-of-the-art camera and LIDAR sensors used on autonomous vehicles,” he said.

“As we drive, AI will determine if the car performs the same as it would with a human driver in all conditions.

“The big problem right now is that autonomous vehicles don’t drive as well as humans in all possible conditions.”

Professor Milford said current autonomous car systems would refuse to go into autonomous mode or revert control back to the driver when faced with Australian road conditions.

“A human driving down a rural road knows to stick on the left and they infer or imagine that there is a line in the middle of the road,” Professor Milford said.

“But they will also cross that imaginary line to go around obstacles quite freely – that’s very hard for an autonomous car.

“The primary goal of our research is to determine how current advances in robotic vision and machine learning – the backbone of AI – enable our research car platform to see and make sense of everyday road signage and markings that we, as humans, take for granted.”

Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey said improving AI technology was a much-needed step towards having automated cars on Queensland roads.

“This road trip will help us gain a better understanding of our future infrastructure needs,” Mr Bailey said.