Somewhere in the not so recent past, the thought of a vehicle that could ‘drive itself’ was something right out of science fiction.  Interestingly, the future is catching up.  There is growing interest in self-driving cars following tests over the past few years by Google and research by several major automakers.  A major study released in August, 2016, said the looming arrival of self-driving vehicles is likely to vastly reduce traffic fatalities.

As more and more companies work on development of said vehicles that will be relying on robotic instrumentation, having a lens created by UKA should be a priority. We not only work with manufacturers to engineer and design the exact lens, we also manufacture the product. Having everything done in-house guarantees precision and meets the highest expectations.

Autonomous cars can detect surroundings using a variety of techniques such as radar, lidar, GPS, and computer vision. Advanced control systems interpret sensory information to identify appropriate navigation paths, as well as obstacles and relevant signage. Autonomous cars have control systems that are capable of analyzing sensory data to distinguish between different cars on the road, which is very useful in planning a path to the desired destination.

The first self-sufficient (and therefore, truly autonomous) cars appeared in the 1980s, with Carnegie Mellon University’s Navlab and ALV projects in 1984 and Mercedes-Benz and Bundeswehr University Munich’s Eureka Prometheus Project in 1987. Since then, numerous major companies and research organizations have developed working prototype autonomous vehicles.

Two companies, Israeli technology firm Mobileye, along with UK-based auto-equipment maker Delphi said they are teaming up to develop an autonomous driving system which would be ready for vehicle-makers in 2019.

A joint statement by the two companies said that Mobileye’s vision and sensor systems would combine with Delphi’s automated driving software to create what it called “the market’s first turnkey Level 4/5 automated driving solution.”

The US-based Society of Automotive Engineers defines level 4 as “High Automation” in all but the most adverse driving conditions and level 5 as “Full Automation” “under all roadway and environmental conditions that can be managed by a human driver.

Similarly, in July 2016, German car maker BMW announced that it was joining forces with Mobileye and US computer chip giant Intel on a self-drive project, also for “highly and fully automated driving” to be commercially available by 2021.

In February 2016, Israel put into action Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs), fully autonomous military vehicles along the country’s dangerous border with Gaza.

“This is the future — the border is a very dangerous place,” an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) official told, citing the threat of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), snipers, anti-tank missiles and terrorist tunnels. “Sending un-manned vehicles to do these patrols means that troops lives’ are not at risk.”

Working with Israeli defense specialist Elbit Systems, IDF has equipped Ford F-350 pickup trucks with specialized remote driving technology. The trucks, dubbed Border Protector Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs), are also fitted with four driving cameras and a 360-degree observation camera to help operators identify threats.

Scientists said autonomous driving systems will require programmers to develop algorithms to make critical decisions that are based more on ethics than technology, such as whether to sacrifice a driver or passenger rather than pedestrians.  There is a lot of research yet to be done before they become the norm, but progress is moving quickly.

Universe Kogaku designs and manufactures optical lenses for Robotic systems in Autonomous Vehicles, security, high tech and electronic applications. We stock 1000’s of standard lens assemblies and can custom design a solution for scanners, CCTV, CCD/CMOS, medical imaging, surveillance systems, machine vision and night vision systems.