Humanoid chauffeur put within the driving seat for robotaxi future

Humanoid chauffeur put within the driving seat for robotaxi future
Humanoid chauffeur put within the driving seat for robotaxi future

Japanese researchers have launched footage of a humanoid robotic referred to as Musashi sitting within the driving seat of an electrical micro-car to look at a doable future route for autonomous car applied sciences.

The present push for autonomous autos just about follows the identical path, the place applied sciences equivalent to LiDAR, imaginative and prescient cameras, GPS, complicated algorithms and controls methods are put in all through the Johnny Cab and work collectively to soundly navigate metropolis streets and past.

No less than that is the overall thought, though real-world deployment has been one thing of a blended bag of successes and headline-grabbing failures. However what if automobiles did not must pack all this superior tech to get from A to B with out a human driver on the wheel? That is the route that College of Tokyo researchers and Musashi are headed.

Musashi is a “musculoskeletal humanoid” developed by the analysis group in 2019 as a testbed for studying management methods. The shape issue not solely has comparable proportions to a human counterpart but additionally includes a “joint and muscle construction” impressed by the human physique.

The robotic has now discovered use in an autonomous driving challenge the place it has been educated by members of the Jouhou System Kougaku Lab to grasp driving in the same technique to people. With various levels of success, as you may see within the video beneath.

Towards Autonomous Driving by Musculoskeletal Humanoids (RAM 2020)

Musashi’s head is dwelling to a high-resolution imaginative and prescient digicam in every movable eye, which may pan and tilt to acquire completely different views of the world – straight forward, for instance, or rapidly checking facet mirrors. 5-digit arms on the tip of jointed arms flip the steering wheel as decided by the educational software program and sensor knowledge, whereas additionally having the ability to pull the handbrake, flip an ignition key and function flip signaling. And grippy toes push down on brake and accelerator pedals when wanted.

The humanoid sits within the driving seat of a enterprise variant of a single-seater electrical micro-car named the COMS (Chotto Odekake Machimade Suisui), which was launched by Toyota in 2012. The workforce outfitted the car with a Wi-Fi router and Intel NUC PC to run the popularity module in addition to a servo energy provide, although expects such issues to be integrated into future humanoids.

The JSK Lab project explored a possible autonomous vehicle future with the help of a Musashi humanoid and a COMS micro-EV
The JSK Lab challenge explored a doable autonomous car future with the assistance of a Musashi humanoid and a COMS micro-EV

Kento Kawaharazuka et al

The actual-world driving checks have been undertaken on the College of Tokyo’s Kashiwa Campus, the place Musashi hit the brakes when a human was detected or a automobile horn sounded, and in addition responded to visitors lights. But it surely wasn’t all easy going, because the software program wasn’t educated to deal with inclines so sustaining a relentless crawl up hills proved problematic, and turning a nook took minutes fairly than seconds.

But it surely’s clearly very early days for autonomous driving by humanoid. Assuming improvement continues apace, potential benefits to this technique over automobiles kitted out with autonomous driving tech would possibly embrace the car itself not needing to be modified, and the robotic driver having the ability to undertake different duties between journeys (equivalent to carrying the procuring or switching roles to family helper). The researchers additionally say that the sensor-packed robotic might function a crash check dummy for automakers.

A paper on the challenge was first introduced at ICRA 2021 is now out there on arXiv.

Sources: JSK, Kento Kawaharazuka

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