A humanoid driver takes over the steering wheel of a robotaxi

Musashi faithfully replicates human actions, as it is able to activate the handbrake and execute turn signals.
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Un chofer humanoide se apodera del volante de un robotaxi

The humanoid robot Musashi was created as a test bench for control systems; with human-like proportions and a joint and muscle structure inspired by the human body. Currently, Musashi is a “humanoid driver” being used in an autonomous driving project, trained to drive vehicles in a human-like manner, with varying levels of success.

A few days ago, a group of Japanese researchers unveiled images of Musashi sitting in the driver’s seat of an electric microcar. electric microcar . This project seeks to explore new possibilities for autonomous vehicle technology.

The reality of autonomous vehicles

Most of today’s autonomous vehicles rely on technologies such as LiDAR, vision cameras, GPS and complex control algorithms. However, implementation has been mixed, with successes and failures that have captured public attention. The proposal by researchers at the University of Tokyo suggests that cars could dispense with these advanced technologies, using humanoid robots for driving instead.

How does the humanoid chauffeur Musashi perform?

The robot has high-resolution cameras in each eye, which can move to obtain different views of the environment. Their hands turn the steering wheel, activate the parking brake and execute turn signals as determined by learning software and sensor data. In addition, his feet press the brake and accelerator pedals when necessary.

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Musashi has been tested at the Kashiwa campus of the University of Tokyo, where it showed its ability to brake upon detecting humans or the sound of a horn and react to traffic lights. However, it still faces challenges, such as difficulty in maintaining a constant speed on slopes and slowness when turning corners.


First tests performed on Musashi. Source: NHK WORLD-JAPAN

Although it is still early days for autonomous driving by humanoids, this method could offer significant advantages. The vehicles would not need to be modified and the robot driver could perform other tasks between trips. In addition, the researchers suggest that Musashi could serve as a crash test dummy, offering a valuable tool for automakers.

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Source and photo: newatlas

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