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2018 Winter Olympics pose a tough test for Hyundai's self-driving cars

Fri Aug 25, 2017 2:20 am

The world's athletes won't need chauffeurs at the 2018 Winter Olympics. Hyundai is developing self-driving shuttles to transport participants between Seoul and Pyeongchang, the mountain resort Olympic host city located about 80 miles east of the South Korean capital. Once there, self-driving cars, like the Autonomous Ioniq Concept shown at the 2016 LA Auto Show, will take over the task of going between individual venues.

Well, that's the plan at least. There's still some heavy lifting to be done. For starters, Hyundai and its MNSOFT navigation software subsidiary must make a map ... an extremely accurate map. It's not enough to simply know this street is there and don't drive onto the bobsled run over there. Rather, information about road width, signage, markings, curvature, slope and other vital factors makes a big difference. Reducing margin of error is also key.

According to a story in Korea's etnews, MNsoft's high-precision 3D map (dubbed HD Map) has already reduced that margin of error along the anticipated Olympic route from the 20 to 30 meters of previous mapping to less than 10 cm – a smidge under 4 inches. This was done by collecting data through precise radar and LiDAR along with four digital cameras mounted to a Kia Sedona.

The importance of accuracy is perhaps obvious, but such mapping is particularly vital when dealing with inclement conditions that reduce the effectiveness of autonomous vehicle sensors. Knowing that an obstacle is already present limits the need for the car to detect it through snow. This will specifically be the case on the roads to and around Pyeongchang, which are expected to experience their fair share of snow. It is the Winter Olympics, after all.

Of course, it's one thing to meticulously scan a handful of pre-determined routes and quite another to do so for enough of a country (even one as small as South Korea) to allow passengers to go anywhere they please.

The 2018 Olympics run from Feb. 9 to 25.
https://www.autoblog.com/2017/08/09/win ... ving-cars/

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