This humanoid robot can drive cars — sort of

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Is the important thing to autonomous vehicles that don’t run over pedestrians and crash into phone poles a humanoid robotic behind the wheel? A bunch of researchers on the College of Tokyo suppose so, they usually lay out their argument in a newly revealed technical paper this week.

The researchers, one in all whom consults for Toyota, developed and skilled a “musculoskeletal humanoid” referred to as Musashi to drive a small electrical automobile by means of a check monitor.

Outfitted with two cameras standing in for human eyes, Musashi can “see” the street in entrance of it in addition to the views mirrored within the automobile’s facet mirrors. With its mechanical arms, it could possibly rotate the automobile’s key, pull the handbrake and swap on the flip sign. And, due to its anti-slip “toes,” Musashi can press on the accelerator or brake pedal.

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After “educating” Musashi the way to use the automobile’s steering wheel by feeding it uncooked sensor information, the researchers managed to get the robotic to show a nook at an intersection whereas respecting visitors mild indicators, they declare.

However there are caveats.

For one, Musashi solely gingerly lifted its “foot” off the brake pedal to show the nook reasonably than faucet the accelerator. This was the results of technical limitations and out of an abundance of warning, the researchers say — however, because of this, the flip took about two minutes.

Musashi did use the accelerator in a separate experiment, the researchers say. But it surely had hassle sustaining a constant velocity, relying on the steepness of the street’s incline.

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So clearly there’s some work to be executed. Luckily, the researchers say they’re up for the problem, with plans to develop a next-gen robotic and software program. Perhaps just a few many years down the road, Musashi shall be behind the wheel of your subsequent Tokyo taxi.

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