Driverless Vehicles – New in 2016? Check the Year 1995!04 Nov

The attention-grabbing headlines about driverless vehicles tend to obscure the fact that there is a history to this exciting transportation mode. The trajectory of this history to the present time may portend a path towards the ultimate commercialization of driverless vehicles. 

During 2016

According to Business Insider, “…19 companies are striving to put driverless cars on the road by 2020. These companies include Tesla, Google, Uber, Toyota, BMW, Volvo, Ford, General Motors and Nissan, among others.

During 1995

Much of the current driverless vehicle technology was pioneered by Carnegie Mellon University and culminated with a near driverless trip called, No Hands Across America. “During this tour of America, which was sponsored by Delco Electronics, AssistWare Technology, and Carnegie Mellon University, two researcher from CMU’s Robotics Institute “drove” from Pittsburgh, PA to San Diego, CA using the RALPH computer program.”

“RALPH (Rapidly Adapting Lateral Position Handler) uses video images to determine the location of the road ahead and the appropriate steering direction to keep the vehicle on the road. (The researchers handled the throttle and brake.)”

“RALPH decomposes the problem of steering a vehicle into three steps, 1) sampling of the image, 2) determining the road curvature, and 3) determining the lateral offset of the vehicle relative to the lane center. The output of the later two steps are combined into a steering command, which can be compared with the human driver’s current steering direction as part of a road departure warning system, or sent directly to the steering motor on our Navlab 5 testbed vehicle for autonomous steering control.”

J. H. Everson SBIR Consultant

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About Dr. Everson

Prior to forming this SBIR consultant practice, Dr. Jeffrey Everson was director of business development for QinetiQ North America’s Technology Solutions Group (previously Foster-Miller, Inc.).

Dr. Everson has won and been the principal investigator for several SBIR programs, including a Phase I program for NASA, a Phase I project for the U.S. Air Force, and Phase I and II contracts from the U.S. Department of Transportation. For the Phase II program, he received a Tibbetts Award for exemplifying the best in SBIR achievement.

Previously Dr. Everson held senior scientist positions at Battelle Memorial Institute, The Analytic Sciences Corporation (TASC), Honeywell Electro Optics Systems Division, and Itek Optical Systems Division.

He holds a PhD in physics from Boston College and a MS/BS in physics from Northeastern University.


For more information about how JHEverson Consulting can help your company with its SBIR and STTR proposals, please contact Jeff Everson.

JHEverson Consulting is based in the Boston area but consults for clients throughout North America. It also is supported by affiliated consultants.