MIT is teaching self-driving cars to deal with the unknown

Country roads are the best example of this: they have very few markings, and are often completely unmapped because so few people use any given one that there’s no real incentive to map them. But if driverless cars can’t cope, then does that mean future generations will have to learn to drive just for these scenarios?

Not if MIT can help it. Researchers are currently working on a new framework called Maplite which they hope will allow driverless cars to figure out roads they’ve never driven on before, without the need for 3D maps. Combining Google Maps GPS data with the car’s own LIDAR and IMU sensors, the idea is that the car can figure out the way the road is twisting and turning without needing to know exactly what lies ahead.