If the road is covered with snow, covered with leaves or debris, flooded with muddy water, a human driver, at the very least, by indirect indications, can still figure out how to drive. And an unmanned vehicle, without data on road markings and the boundaries of the carriageway - no. The new WaveSense technology is designed to solve this and even more difficult orientation problems where there are no landmarks.
WaveSense's concept is to build an alternative road map using the ground scan underneath. If we drill the soil, we get a core with a diameter of 4 cm2 and a length of 3 m, with a unique combination of stones, minerals, sand and impurities in it. Modern ground penetrating radar allows you to do the same, to obtain a personal "fingerprint" of the selected point, but without carrying out earthworks. If we scan a certain area, we can compose its ground map from the position-marks. Then we turn on the WaveSense GPR anywhere in it, study the current mark, compare it with the database and find out our coordinates.
The large scanning depth guarantees the reliability of positioning, even if work is in progress in the upper layers, the asphalt is changed, the flood rages, etc., at a depth of 1 m and more, everything is stable. Tests have shown that when driving at speeds up to 100 km / h, the WaveSense system determines the location on the map with an accuracy of 1-2 cm, despite the presence of interference from snow or debris. So the orientation system for drones is ready, as an alternative or addition to the existing sets of sensors.
Yes, initially you will have to drive along the roads and draw up their dirt maps. And take into account that on steel bridges, over shallow communication networks and in other cases, the system will fail. But it does not require a lot of energy and collects 8 times less data per unit of time than a drone camera - any car can be equipped with WaveSense installations cheaply. Now the authors of the development are looking for ways of its most profitable commercial implementation. It is already clear that this will not be a social and charitable undertaking, like Google Maps, no, it will be about a business solution that will affect only the key highways of the planet.