Thursday, June 25, 2009

Open-source will win the race for driverless cars

This project seems a bit crazy. Let's imagine the scene: you sit down on your car, tell your GPS where you want to go and close your eyes for a little nap, the car will wake you up when parked next to your destination.

But this is not science fiction: prototypes exist and big companies are working hard on this problem which will probably be the next revolution for the car industry (before oil-shortage).

Indeed, as my boss Keith Curtis often states, it's a purely algorithmic problem since all the required hardware are webcam, GPS and (eventually) lasers detectors. Cheap stuffs that we can find everywhere.

So, the first who succeeds in writing the software wins! (and probably he will win a lot!)

That's our project, we're trying to be the first to have this software working. It seems ambitious for a team of two programmers fighting against Goliaths of the car industry, but we have a secret weapon: it's called open-source!

We are initiating a project where everybody can participate. The first step is to have a car simulator and a virtual town to drive into, then we can start experimenting algorithms on a computer (instead of crashing few cars in the process).

We're informing scientists from AI laboratories, computer vision experts and trying to reach any other interested persons so this platform becomes a base for community driven development. It's a hard task, but it's the key to success.

So if you are talented and you think you can help, you are very welcome! The project is fun and we promise you'll be given back as much as you participate.

Here are some links:
- Keith Curtis' view of the project
- Launchpad project.
- Our wiki

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