Precise, Robust Vehicle Localization
Without accurate, timely positioning information, a self-driving car doesn’t know where it is relative to its destination, so it can neither follow a course to it nor map its surroundings. Draper is developing hardware and software technologies to perform localization with or without GPS data—precisely, reliably and affordably.
Centimeter-level localization accuracy enabled by the Draper APEX Gyro makes precise yet cost-effective inertial navigation for cars accessible. A microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology sensor, the Draper APEX Gyro is designed for fabrication via standard semiconductor foundry processes. It can then be produced for a fraction of the production costs of other commercially available technologies, including fiber-optic gyroscopes.
In a software-based approach to determining position Draper uses one of its vision-aided navigation algorithms, SAMWISE (Smoothing And Mapping With Inertial State Estimation). The algorithm estimates a vehicle’s attitude, velocity and relative position and orientation by fusing data from an inertial sensor and one or more aiding navigation sensors to enable closed-loop autonomous vehicle motion and mapping in areas without consistent GPS signal access. Using data from the basic sensor implementation of a monocamera and an inertial measurement unit, SAMWISE localizes very effectively. Since SAMWISE integrates easily with a variety of sensors/data sources, including GPS, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), additional sensors can be added to the system configuration for even higher/more reliable performance. SAMWISE even can use new information to update previous movement measurements to correct stored position data.
Whether designing and developing hardware, software or both, Draper’s system-level approach delivers robust capabilities for precise vehicle localization. The result is reliable navigation in any environment without depending on GPS.
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