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[Colloquium] Autonomous Cars are Green Cars

March 3, 2011

Watch Colloquium: 

M4V file (864 MB)


  • Date: Thursday, March 3, 2011 
  • Time: 11:00 am — 11:50 am 
  • Place: Mechanical Engineering 218

Raul Rojas
Professor of Artificial Intelligence
Freie Universitat Berlin

We have been developing autonomous cars at the Free University of Berlin since 2006. In this talk, I will describe the sensors and software used for autonomous navigation. Laser scanners provide distance measurements which allow us to compute a 3D view of the environment, while video cameras provide information about the road, traffic lights, and lane markings. The navigation software produces the desired path, which is adjusted whenever obstacles are detected. I will describe some of the short-term applications of this technology, for example for electric cars, and the ultimate goal of having driverless vehicles. I will show some videos of the vehicle in traffic and some experiments of the man-in-the-loop type. Finally, I will relate this research to city planning and will comment on the social impact of autonomous cars.

Bio: Raul Rojas is a professor of Computer Science and Mathematics at the Free University of Berlin and a renowned specialist in artificial neural networks. He is now leading an autonomous car project called Spirit of Berlin. He and his team were awarded the Wolfgang von Kempelen Prize for his work on Konrad Zuse and the history of computers. His current research and teaching revolves around artificial intelligence and its applications. The soccer playing robots he helped build won world championships in 2004 and 2005. In 2009 the Mexican government created the Raul Rojas Gonzales Prize for scientific achievement by Mexican citizens. He holds degrees in mathematics and economics.