MIT Special Seminar
Date: September 9th, 2021 Venue: Online

Inviting Dr. John Leonard, Professor of Mechanical and Ocean Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which we have a partnership with, we held a special seminar on the frontiers of autonomous driving, AI, and cloud computing research.

At first, Dr. John Leonard stated that simulation on VR is essential to realize full-autonomous driving, and that connections between humans are also important to successfully connect the VR space with the real space.

In 2007, he joined the MIT team to participate in the DARPA Grand Challenge, which is a competition for autonomous vehicles, and the team placed the 4th out of 35 teams. Their vehicle was equipped with a laser scanner to identify and predict the course and other vehicles, but the vehicle failed to recognize slow-moving vehicles as "moving objects", resulting in a collision. To complete the autonomous vehicle, it is required to accomplish the Level 2 to Level 4 autonomous driving in addition to the correspondence to the interaction and bad weather, and he found the challenges of how to make the computer understand these issues.

As he was also involved in the establishment of Toyota's TRI in 2015, he introduced the Guardian and Chauffeur. Guardian is a Level 2 autonomous driving system that detects hazards and assists driving. Demonstrations were also given using a dual-cockpit vehicle for two cases: one in which the driver fell asleep and the other in which the car in front suddenly changed lanes to avoid something.

Chauffeur is a Level 4 autonomous driving system used in limited areas, and he introduced its test run in Odaiba, which is aiming at the smooth maneuvering. He also showed the VR images of the results of semantic segmentation, which identified features such as vehicles, pedestrians, traffic signs, and sidewalks.

At last, he described challenges such as whether elements of real space can be incorporated into VR space in detail and whether successes in VR space can be brought into real space, as there is a possibility of the danger that things do not go in the real space as simulations performed in the VR space.

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Seminar Report