Transport & Logistics

3D imaging for driver-assisted and autonomous vehicles

Published on
January 25, 2024

Many government policies and organisations understand that intelligent transport will play a fundamental role in the future of global travel. Having this type of efficient transport will help us to reduce congestion, pollution, and improve safety.

What is intelligent transport? Well, according to researchers, intelligent transport combines current transport conditions with a relevant operator (computer or person) managing the network. This could be information gathered at traffic lights, train stations, or relayed from the vehicle itself.

Currently, conditions are monitored through a mix of sensors and cameras that all feed into a computer. The challenge is for these cameras to send concise, reliable, and insightful information for the computer to make quick, proactive decisions. While current cameras have improved immensely, they have yet to escape several major limitations.

The UK is no stranger to poor visibility from bad weather. With climate change set to introduce more extreme cases of rain, fog, and snowfall across the UK, cameras that require a clear view will not reliably support the intelligent transport of tomorrow. However, it is during times of poor weather when intelligent transport systems are most needed. Night time provides another challenge with the lack of daylight and need for energy-consuming street lighting limiting practical uses.

So how will quantum imaging help? Research in quantum imaging has centred on cameras that can detect the smallest amount of light – a single photon. Hence, despite fierce rain, fog, snow, or night time conditions, quantum cameras need only the smallest amount of light to get through, making them reliable. These photons can also be detected from around corners improving the safety of autonomous vehicles and preventing collisions.



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