Autonomous Cars Take a Giant Leap Forward

Autonomous cars have just taken another big step into the future with the release of a new computer that collects data and enables autonomous navigation.

NXP’s BlueBox computer collects information from radar, Lidar, cameras and other sensors and processes them in real time to build a model of the vehicle’s surroundings.

The system can process an astonishing 90 million instructions per second and uses less than 40 watts in the process.

Autonomous cars take a giant leap forward

It’s already had the seal of approval from four of the world’s biggest carmakers who are all using it in their autonomous car tests. BlueBox is also widely available to other carmakers.

The technology enables Level 4 autonomy by the standards of the Society of Automotive Engineers, where a car can navigate autonomously most of the time, but a driver still needs to take control in some circumstances.

The price of the components behind autonomous cars is dropping and the technological barriers to their adoption may be overcome long before the legal and personal barriers are transcended.

So far only one state in the US – California – has proposed regulations that deal with autonomous cars. It’s decided that a driver must be behind the wheel at all times.

In Australia there’s a very real danger of the technology getting well ahead of the laws. A recent story in the Sydney Morning Herald identified 716 rules that will need to be addressed and pointed out that a national approach is going to be needed, rather than a state-by-state approach.

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