Patent published on May 7, 2014

Google Self Driving Car Can Pick and Drop You Automatically

Can you imagine using AR/VR or mixed reality for driving your car?

And no, not using VR for learning how to drive. (We aren’t counting that 🙂 )

When we think of uses of virtual reality or mixed reality we think of some engineer developing futuristic and revolutionary tech (or at least that’s what the pictures have us believe)

While these three “R” are mostly seen used in entertainment and gaming, Ericsson is here with another use for them. 

In their latest patent 20200255026A1, Ericsson (TELEFONAKTIEBOLAGET LM ERICSSON ) talks about the use of AR/MR for vehicle navigation. 

It’s quite surprising that one of the top 5g companies is working on a self-driving application. But considering the vast range of 5g, it’s reasonable to work on 5g applications. 

In case you’re confused in the subtle differences between VR, AR & MR, here’s a quick guide-

 VR Provides a completely immersive experience as it creates an entirely new world or “reality”. It aims to trick you into feeling like you’re in a different environment. With the help of a head-mounted display (HMD), you can experience entirely new and different realities. 

Apart from gaming VR finds it’s used in various fields such as for training in healthcare with surgical simulations, to practice sports (for amateur players), to practice using heavy machinery, to give virtual tours of museums or tourist locations, and more.

AR adds digital elements to the real world. It overlays digital data onto our surroundings. It adds a layer of perception to our world and enhances it.

 Some great examples of AR are Snapchat and Pokemon Go.  AR can typically be accessed through our phones.

Mixed reality is the merging of both virtual and real worlds (hence the name). MR allows you to manipulate both physical and virtual elements with the help of next-generation sensing and imaging technologies. 

You get to tinker around with virtual elements while you’re surrounded by the real world. It breaks down the basic concepts between real and imaginary. 

Now coming back to our topic. What is the patent about?

In the patent, Ericsson talks about a navigation system where a device can be used to map the navigational path.

We begin with a device, it could be anything like a phone or a smartwatch or an IoT entity or some onboard telematics. Let’s call it our collection agent. 

So our agent, with the help of sensors, collects all the data around our vehicle’s surroundings. This data contains information such as obstacles in the path, people, vehicles, potholes, and more. 

All this data is uploaded on the cloud where it is processed with the likes of AI, Fuzzy logic, neural networks, machine learning, big data analytics, etc. The output is a precise driving instruction. 

These driving instructions are a suitable driving path mapped on the road for optimal comfort and safety of the car and its passengers. 

This image illustrates the functioning of the system where multiple vehicles present on the road which is all operating with their respective collection agents and radio connectivity such that they operate as environment sensing points with respect to respective vicinities. 

It also shows various obstacles such as bumps, potholes, ice patches, etc. that may be present on the road along with some pedestrians carrying mobile while some with smartwatches on them. 

This image illustrates the view a driver would get with the  AR display. Here a routing path is shown with the various potholes, climate, road, and obstacles taken into consideration. The system provides driving aid to safely navigate a road with uneven surfaces and obstacles.

 These navigation instructions can be useful to both manual cars where GPS is used and autonomous vehicles where navigation occasionally poses a challenge. 

Many autonomous vehicle companies are working towards finessing their driverless car’s navigation systems with numerous sensors and cameras. This system to provide driving recommendations based on scanning the surroundings could benefit those companies greatly. It essentially maps out a route for the unmanned vehicles to cruise through. 

This could also give Ericsson to team up with or license/sell their patent to a company developing an autonomous vehicle.

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