An unmanned vehicle designed by the Military Transportation University (MTU) of the China People’s Liberation Army (PLA) recently won top prize in the fourth Future Challenge, a national contest for intelligent vehicles.
The vehicle, a prototype named “Fierce Lion 3”, completed a 114-km journey in 85 minutes, with a top speed of 105 kph, making it China’s first unmanned vehicle to pass a freeway test.
Testing agencies, including the National Natural Science Foundation and Beijing Institute of Technology, deemed that the vehicle had successfully completed the journey with no human intervention.
Fierce Lion 3 was directed to complete a wide range of manoeuvres on the freeway, including cruising in one lane, following traffic, changing lanes, passing slower traffic, and responding to human instructions.
The vehicle is equipped with an override system to allow human intervention in case of emergency. The in-car computer system controlled the entire journey, including acceleration, braking, passing, and pulling up. The researchers did nothing but set the vehicle’s destination coordinates.
During the trip, Fierce Lion 3 passed slower traffic 33 times.
The vehicle was equipped with radars, video cameras and a sat-nav device that provided input for the car.
Three cameras monitored the front and side traffic, sending lane marks and buffer zone visuals to the computer. The radars detected the distance between the car bumper and the front traffic, advising the computer either to accelerate or to slow down.
In total, MTU’s unmanned intelligent vehicles have registered over 10,000 km of test drives on both urban streets and rural roads.