Proterra, maker of electric buses, is initiating an autonomous bus program at the University of Nevada as the first in the United States. The UofN at Reno is part of Proterra’s Living Lab Coalition partners, which also includes several cities in Nevada as well as county and state organizations.
Unlike other programs to date, this autonomous vehicle pilot will deal with real road conditions from the perspective of public transit systems, and emphasize the most challenging aspects related to mass transportation, which include dense and dynamic environments, degraded conditions, and a need for swift emergency response.
The pilot will also explore a new set of robotic perception algorithms that are required to address these conditions, and focus on tight cues from multi-modal sensors and new multi-modal localization and mapping.
Rather than solely detect traffic, the Living Lab will focus on predicting traffic flows and plans to enhance safety. The University’s current work focuses on the problems of vehicle perception, navigation control, path planning and vehicle-to-vehicle as well as vehicle-to-infrastructure research.