Researchers Reinvent Audi Vehicle With Live Driver Feedback

Nicole Oliver/UCSD Guardian

Researchers have partnered with Audi in a research initiative to change the way people drive cars in an urban setting. Their goal for the project, which began Jan. 3, is to develop smart technology for automobiles to ease congestion, dangers and inconveniences that affect drivers in large cities.

Electrical engineering professor Mohan Trivedi and his team — in cooperation with UC Berkeley, University of Southern California and University of Michigan — are working on the “Audi Urban Intelligent Assist” project, which incorporates driver preferences and automobile technology to provide an information system to give feedback to the driver.

The project — launched by Audi and its Electronic Research Laboratory — will create a system for cars to translate real-time information back to the driver, incorporating traffic patterns, driver movements or correcting bad driving habits via feedback. Trivedi’s team is working on driver diagnostics, like technology to track driving habits.

“The vision is to develop next generation of vehicles that will recognize individual motorists behind the wheel, know preferred destination and routes the motorists have most commonly traveled and the time needed to reach appointments,” Trivedi said. “The car will be able to help the drivers detect and avoid dangerous situations better, too.”

Researchers will gather driver-sensitive data, such as where the driver is looking, where hands are positioned, what pedals are activated, as well as the vehicle surroundings, such as locations and dynamics of other vehicles, lane markers and traffic signals.

Trivedi said one of the most crucial parts of the research is figuring out how to process the information.

“We need to develop signal processing, pattern recognition and machine learning algorithms to analyze these sensory signals to understand how a driver performs various driving maneuvers,” Trivedi said.

The experimental and developmental phases of the project incorporates a real-time camera systems to monitor activity in and outside of a VW Passat. The research is conducted at the Laboratory for Intelligent and Safe Automobiles (L.I.S.A.) at UCSD.

The results of the research will be published in journals, which will impact other research projects nationwide.

“[Research opportunities] offer exciting and challenging problems to work on, but the research outcomes eventually migrate into vehicles which support safe and enjoyable driving experience,” Trivedi said.

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