This past week two geospatial stories have been featured in the Technology section of The New York Times. Although geospatial users may be accustomed to such announcements, it is noteworthy that they made the same major national newspaper within a week of each other:
1) Robotic drivers are being tested by Google’s Prius — drivers who don’t fall asleep at the wheel, get DUIs or speed or get traffic tickets.
How it works – LiDAR provides a continuously updated 3D map of the world at centimeter accuracy that extend for more than 230 feet around the car.
Four standard automotive radars with less resolution and greater range, three in front and one in the rear, are added to the LiDAR. A high resolution video camera is situated inside the car next to the rear-view mirror to detect street lights and moving obstacles like pedestrians and bicyclists. The Prius also has a GPS receiver and an inertial motion sensor.
Google Cars Drive Themselves, in Traffic, John Markoff, October 10, 2010, The New York Times (registration required)
2) Another interesting article featured in The New York Times in the past week highlighted indoor mapping and geolocation. We have been thinking of indoor geolocation with regard to military and Homeland Security applications, however, according to the article – “A number of start-up companies are charting the interiors of shopping malls, convention centers and airports to keep mobile phone users from getting lost as they walk from the food court to the restroom. Some of their maps might even be able to locate cans of sardines in a sprawling grocery store.”
Finding Your Way Through the Mall or the Airport, With a Cellphone Map, Verne G. Kopytoff, October 11, 2010, The New York Times, (registration required)