The Autonomous Vehicle of China: Fierce Lion 3

“Fierce Lion 3” won the prize in the contest of smart vehicles, the fourth Future Challenge by driving 114 kilometers  from Beijing to Tianjin in 85 minutes, with a top speed of 105 kilometers per hour. It passed a wide variety of tricky tests such as driving straight, pursuing traffic, changing lanes, managing with slower traffic and following human instructions. What is more crucial is the fact that it is the first autonomous vehicle of China to pass a freeway test without human intervention.

National Natural Science Foundation and Beijing Institute of Technology, as third party certification agencies, also agreed on the high class standards of its technology. The performance of the unmanned intelligent vehicles was observed as stable after 10,000 kilometers of test drives on both urban streets and rural roads.

Fierce Lion 3 is the third generation of its prototype and was designed by Military Transportation University of the People’s Liberation Army.  Its equipment consists of radars detecting the distance to the traffic; three video cameras monitoring the traffic that give lane mark and buffer zone information; and a satellite navigation device. There are two computers analyzing the gathered information and controlling the mechanical system, and an extra computer for backup use. That is to say, the autopilot system is like fly-by-wire avionics of a passenger jet. The computer also guarantees a safe breaking distance of 100 meters. Setting the destination coordinates for the vehicle is enough: the in-car computer system handles the rest of the journey by controlling acceleration, braking, passing, and pulling up. There is also an override system which allows human intervention and in case of emergency, avoids of injuring passengers or damaging other vehicles.

Saving human resource in military logistics by leading a transport convoy with only one driver can be an example for the use of this technology. Autonomous driving is regarded as safer because of its precision. Taking over the driving safely to reduce driver fatigue and accidents or providing optimized directions through internet can be the possible civilian use of the in-car system and the autonomous vehicles, so does public transportation.