Self-driving and confused

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Humans are not the only ones baffled by poor infrastructure

Poor road markings and inconsistent signage on U.S. roads and highways frustrate the reliability of autonomous vehicle sensors. This lack of standardization is forcing automakers to take on higher costs to develop more sophisticated systems, which could also potentially delay the commercial deployment of self-driving vehicle technologies. Christoph Mertz, a research scientist at Carnegie Mellon University, points out the need for system redundancies:  “If the lane fades, all hell breaks loose…. But cars have to handle these weird circumstances and have three different ways of doing things in case one fails.”

Meanwhile, transportation officials need to start keeping autonomous vehicle needs in mind when updating or building new transportation infrastructure. Per Paul Carlson, a research engineer at Texas A&M University, “Make up your mind, people! Do you want your traffic lights vertical or horizontal?”

  • Photo:  Queen Street in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario (David Helwig in

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