Autonomous eyes: How self-driving cars see the world.

The Dream life of Driverless Cars is an art project by the London design studio, ScanLAB Projects. It simulates a self-driving car’s view using lidar (light detection and radar) units—a laser-based 3D scanner that captures millimetre-scale measurements of its environment by sending out high frequency light impulses. A machine-eye’s view that transforms Tower bridge into a tunnel of light and creates a haunting parallel landscape of blurred perspectives and shadowy shapes.

Dream Life of Driverless Cars: Sight Lines. ScanLAB Projects for the New York Times, 2015. Pictures © ScanLAB Projects.

The City’s skyline becomes a mesh of structures, ornaments and reflections. The laser scanner captures an abstract perspective of the city. How will this digital mapping shape the urban environment of tomorrow? And will it be optimised for self-driving cars?

A typical London double-decker bus becomes a featureless mega-structure followed by the shadow of a cyclist as it winds its way along the streets. Without corrective algorithms, the scanner creates images that seem to be frozen in time.


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Published on May 16, 2019.