It seems the future has been painted right before our eyes: autonomous cars are coming. And automakers are itching to make breakthroughs on the complicated process that is a driverless car.
Opel has stepping into the ring, announcing its partnership with Ko-HAF, an acronym for the insanely-German sounding “Kooperatives hochautomatisiertes Fahren.” We’ll stick with the acronym.
The major challenges surrounding an autonomous car are detailing digital maps for the car, so it is aware of its surroundings, and teaching the car to understand the process of a “manual override,” when the driver wants to take the reins.
Opel says it has already begun research along with Ko-HAF to begin the dissemination of digital maps and working on what they call the “Safety Server.” The Safety Server will allow the cars to communicate and provide essential data such as the quality of road markings, or objects on the road the car will read with its onboard sensors. The Safety Server will then digest the information, and relay new highly-detailed maps for the cars to continue driving, and continue improving.
Opel says work began on this project in June of 2015, with its entirety spanning until 2018, as the brand builds its first autonomous prototype. Opel says its autonomous car will be tested on proving ground before heading to the autobahn to merge safely, keep speed and even overtake slower vehicles.
That’s one small step for autonomous cars, and one leap for a driverless future, for better or worse.