On Sept. 25, the Automotive Women’s Alliance Foundation (AWAF) hosted a presentation on “Future of Mobility” at Cauley Ferrari of Detroit in West Bloomfield, MI.
Guest speaker Dr. Diane L. Peters, Ph.D., P.E., associate professor of Mechanical Engineering at Kettering University presented “The Challenges of Getting Robotic Chauffeurs, Working Towards Autonomous Vehicles.”
According to AWAF Marketing Co-Chair Patricia Price, “The educational seminar went very well, and it was very well received by all attendees. Our speaker was insightful, and the topic sparked great conversations and a lot of positive vibes. The venue was also wonderful, and overall, the event exceeded all our expectations.”
Dr. Peters began her presentation by expressing that most predictions pertaining to the future of mobility and autonomous driving are quite ambitious. People keep thinking that autonomous vehicles are nearly here, but there have been a few tragedies when it comes to actual progress. She identified three problems that make the future of mobility such a challenge.
First, autonomous vehicles have to be able to identify where the car is located, but GPS can fail and provide the wrong signal. It’s imperative that the data be correct before the industry can proceed.
The second challenge is the vehicle’s ability to identify what’s located around it and appropriately deal with those objects, whether they are people, animals or something else. The autonomous vehicle must also be able to detect and read traffic signs, traffic lights, barriers and more.
Identifying the final challenge, Dr. Peters asked, “What do we do? Seems simple – we follow the road, stay at or under the speed limit, and don’t hit anyone so it’s an easy problem to control, right? What if we’re going to hit something? There are complicated unpredictable factors. Humans actually handle unpredictable factors well – we know which roads have a lot of car-deer accidents and where people tend to do dumb things, but how do you teach the car all of that?”
During the question-and-answer session at the end of her presentation, Dr. Peters answered questions regarding potential guidelines, globalization of autonomy, and infrastructure challenges.