MIT builds self-driving mobility scooter (VIDEO).

Watch a Self-Driving Scooter Negotiate Human Traffic Much Better Than a Person Can

Watch a Self-Driving Scooter Negotiate Human Traffic Much Better Than a Person Can

Slate in motion.
May 6 2017 8:24 AM

A Self-Driving Scooter Negotiates Human Traffic

The technology goes far beyond cars.

mobility_scooter

The world of autonomous vehicles extends beyond Tesla, Uber taxis, and robot beer runs. Smaller, more personal vehicles such as golf carts and scooters for the mobility impaired are making use of self-driving technology as well. In this video from MIT and their colleagues at the National University of Singapore, self-driving scooters navigate human traffic at the Singapore campus and along MIT’s “Infinite Corridor” (In the past, MIT engineering students have studied this hallway as a proxy for highway traffic patterns.)

The scooter uses the same software and algorithms used in autonomous golf carts and cars, the researchers explain, and they aim to create a door-to-curb-to-highway autonomous transportation system for the mobility impaired. It's a true, uniform system, not just three similar autonomous vehicles. Employing machine learning algorithms makes for an artificially intelligent driver that learns from its time behind the wheel of all three vehicles, and applies that knowledge in new situations. That means a scooter negotiating MIT’s Infinite Corridor can teach an autonomous car to safer negotiate freeway traffic as well. And that robots are already studying like engineers at MIT.

Jon Kelvey is a writer and journalist based in central Maryland. Follow him on Twitter.