Relax, Your Car Can Think & Drive

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The grand South by Southwest Festival 2015 is set to get all the more glamorous this year with a special attendee! This attendee will drive 3,500 miles across the U.S. starting from San Francisco – unattended at that – to reach the venue.

Hello everyone at the festival. Please put your hands together for the driverless Audi Q5!

Come March 22, Michigan-based Delphi Automotive will show off with pride several versions of the Audi Q5 crossover that will man itself through the distance between the two cities. Armed with laser sensors, radars and multiple cameras, it will have a driver inside who is set to enjoy the comfortable Jarvis-like drive and intervene only if the car gets into trouble.

Looks regular, works futuristically

It looks absolutely like any other Audi on the road, but Delphi’s autonomous vehicle comes with six lidar sensors that are fitted on the front, back and sides. This is a combination of laser and radar sensors, where laser works under normal weather conditions to detect and steer clear of obstacles, while radar takes over during heavy snow and rainfall.

Watch it. This car can think!

Delphi states that the autonomous Audi 5 can make complex decisions like stopping and proceeding in a four-way signal zone, merging into highway traffic and manoeuvring around slower moving vehicles, pedestrians and obstacles.

It has a camera that keeps a constant watch on the driver too. So whenever the Audi 5 feels it is going to lose control, it immediately signals to the driver to take control.

Patent power for Delphi

Delphi is one of the pioneers in developing an autonomous car that is likely to enter the mainstream market in the next couple of years. The company has been researching pretty heavily and own a portfolio of over 6,000 patents in a variety of technologies including wireless communications, electronics, MEMS, and sensors and actuators.

The Delphi Rollover Algorithm is one of its patented technologies (Patents 6002974, 6038495 and 6292759) that can detect changes in motion and position. This allows the vehicle to avoid rollover or potential fall over a rigid body. The algorithm allows for the use of less-expensive linear accelerometers compared to competing technologies using angular sensors. Besides, it has numerous scenarios mapped out to avoid false alarms.

Another interesting autonomous vehicle feature is the Delphi Fusion-based Image Enhancement (FBIE). Based on technologies described in patents US 7492962 and US 7486835, this feature uses an enhancement approach for images with low visibility and contrast, such as images taken at night, to improve vision during a drive.

An illustration of different elements that can influence a computer’s processing to create an enhanced image from an initial image. Source: Patent US 7492962

An illustration of different elements that can influence a computer’s processing to create an enhanced image from an initial image.  Source: Patent US 7492962

Licensing knowledge of thinking cars

And while Delphi is setting the ground by reviewing its patent portfolio for licensing strategies, Google has added two powerful patent to its 310-strong portfolio in autonomous vehicle technologies. Google’s patent US 8078349 describes a technology that will allow autonomous vehicles to understand their positioning, travel route and decipher the position of acceptable parking spaces.

In June 2013, it earned itself US patent 8457827 that describes a technology which will allow the autonomous vehicle to predict the behaviour of another vehicle based on its current state and environment.

Well, with cars that can think and drive set to hit the commercial market in the next couple of years, it’s time for us to gear up, push back and relax through crazy traffic routes.

(Featured image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/road-traffic-car-moving-9235/)

Annie Sailo
Annie Sailo

Analyze – that’s the catch word for Annie. From analyzing personalities to every aspect of the intellectual property industry, her blogs offer a comprehensive view on the patent world.


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