This isn't a drone, but wow: FPV cars, with remote human operators!

From Gizmag:

Researchers at Germany’s Technische Universität München (TUM) are...developing remote-control cars that could travel along city streets with no one in them at all, their operator located somewhere far away.

First of all, what would be the point of a passenger-less car? As a couple of examples, the scientists suggest that the technology could be used to deliver rental cars or vehicles used in car-sharing programs to members’ homes, plus it could be applied to city-center parking services – you just get out when you reach your downtown destination, and your car proceeds to head off to the parking garage on its own.

So far, the TUM team has equipped a prototype Visio.M electric car with six video cameras, five of which are mounted on the back of the rearview mirror (facing forwards or to the sides) and one of which is looking out the rear window. Together, they provide a 360-degree view of the car’s surroundings.

A live feed from the cameras is transmitted to a remote operator station that resembles a driving simulator, via LTE wireless communication. At that station, three monitors display the front and side views from the car, while a fourth displays the view out the back. Microphones aboard the car provide live Dolby 5.1 audio, while force feedback mechanisms in the station’s steering wheel and brake pedal mirror the forces encountered by the car itself.

Using all this technology, a human operator simply sits at the station and remotely drives the car as if they’re playing a video game. If there’s a break in communications, the car automatically brakes and sits in place until they’re resumed.

The scientists claim that the system isn’t very expensive, and that the LTE networks in many cities are already sufficient to transmit all the required video, audio and control data in real time. They add that slower UMTS networks could also work, as they would produce a transmission lag of less than half a second – which admittedly could still make a huge difference in accident avoidance.

Although issues such as legal liability still need to be addressed, the researchers expect the technology to be in use within five to ten years.

Views: 1790

Comment by alex wong on July 30, 2013 at 8:18pm

Using all this technology, a human operator simply sits at the station and remotely drives the car as if they’re playing a video game.

it seems this car still needs a man operating, then i think this is not a good idea.

the pro of this idea is we can hands off the wheel and let go the car anywhere we like. For example, i can simply dress up on the way to the office in this car without driving but inputting the destinations, right?

Comment by CliffN on July 30, 2013 at 9:38pm

that was the concept far back in the General Motors Futurama exhibit

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/publicroads/07july/07.cfm

but would still prefer a stand alone computer autopilot for normal operation the FPV function is for emergency use lets say remotely overwriting the system . like a remote view desktop to a server computer. its like calling tech support to remote view the problem.

Comment by Jesse on July 30, 2013 at 10:39pm

"If there’s a break in communications, the car automatically brakes and sits in place until they’re resumed."  That makes me cringe in a big way!!  imagine the gridlock caused in the middle of the city during some kind of mobile network outage?   Great tech, but I don't believe it's at all practical until it's a 'guided' technology as opposed to remotely driven. 

Comment by Jesse on July 30, 2013 at 10:57pm

This technology still requires a 1:1 ratio for driver vs. car. The only difference between the driver sitting in the car vs. sitting at a remote location is added complexity and cost. As mentioned, an autonomous/guided car would be more practical in a driverless configuration. Of course, to have this remote technology available through a hand-held unit could be pretty neat... no more having to walk through a large parking lot to fetch your vehicle... simply stand at the curb and remotely "drive" it over. :-)


Admin
Comment by Thomas J Coyle III on July 31, 2013 at 5:28am

@Jesse,

In one of the James Bond movies Bond had a BMW that he could drive remotely with his cell phone.

Regards,

TCIII Admin

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