This projects aims at the development of vehicles capable to drive autonomously in a urban setting.
In our vision, these vehicles would be an enabling technology for increasing the offer of public transportation to citizens, even in very low-demand conditions. This vision can be obtained by means of a large fleet of such vehicles, operating in a coordinated fashion as a single transportation system. In this vision the vehicles would allow a 24hours on-demand transportation service similar to taxi cars, at reasonable costs for the public service provider, hence for the customer, and the society in general. We believe this to be the only option to support a real decrease in the number of private-owned cars. Another potential application of a large fleet of such vehicles is the movement of goods in urban settings, so to obtain a city-wide low-cost public logistic system. It seems that, lately, this vision is spreading, see e.g., these magazine articles: article 1, article 2, and this EEC-funded project.
This research is aimed at the development of the enabling technology, i.e., autonomous navigation in urban outdoor scenarios, which implies, in our view, to do research on the perception side of the navigation. This research activity is led by IRAlab, Univ. Milano - Bicocca (http://www.ira.disco.unimib.it), and is perfomed together with AIRlab, Politecnico di Milano (http://airlab.elet.polimi.it), and Info Solution S.p.A (http://www.infosolution.it).
The still largely un-complete new USAD project page.