An anonymous reader tips us to news that researchers at University of California, Berkeley, have successfully test driven a 60-foot bus that controlled its own steering. Sensors on the bus detected magnets that had been embedded in a San Leandro road, and it was able to reach stops within one centimeter of its desired position
. Acceleration and braking during the test were controlled by a human operator, but the system is capable of handling those as well, and has done so on test courses.
"... sensors mounted under the bus measured the magnetic fields created from the roadway magnets, which were placed beneath the pavement surface 1 meter apart along the center of the lane. The information was translated into the bus's lateral and longitudinal position by an on-board computer, which then directed the vehicle to move accordingly. For a vehicle traveling 60 miles per hour, data from 27 meters (88 feet) of roadway can be read and processed in 1 second. Zhang added that the system is robust enough to withstand a wide range of operating conditions, including rain or snow, a significant improvement to other vehicle guidance systems based upon optics."