Skoda has taken another step towards autonomous driving, this time in collaboration with VSB, the Technical University of Ostrava, Czech Republic, by modifying two Superb iVs so that the one follows the other with no driver intervention.
Part of their ‘Follow the Vehicle’ project, which aims to have autonomous cars follow a human-driven vehicle, the tech has potential for fleet operators, car-sharing service providers and car rental companies.
“’Follow the Vehicle’ showcases our current assistances systems’ high technical standard and impressively illustrates the opportunities these systems are capable of unlocking, when combined with other relevant technologies in the field of autonomous driving”, said Skoda’s Board Member for Technical Development, Christian Strube.
The master vehicle determines the speed, lane and other parameters, with the critical data being sent to the autonomous car by radio. In turn, the latter follows it at a distance of up to 10 meters (33 feet), yet before starting the journey, the prototypes are provided with a digital code.
The mid-size plug-in hybrids used in this project have been equipped with state-of-the art technology systems, including the Car-to-X feature that allows them to communicate to other cars and traffic infrastructure, with the information being exchanged via 4G, LTE and 5G mobile networks.
Moreover, the two Skoda prototypes have a special communication unit that processes the data received from the sensors, camera- and radar-based systems. This allows them to identify images and 3D objects in real time, monitoring the traffic and surroundings. They can park on their own with no human intervention whatsoever, and subsequently, the lead vehicle can drive away.