DIANA – a pilot project that explores the possibilities offered by autonomous cars for intelligent urban mobility

In Roman mythology, Diana was the goddess of the hunt, patroness of nature and the Moon. Always depicted with her bow and arrows, this protector watched over the forests and all life that was born in them. Today, her arrows point the way to the mobility of the future. Her name has been given to a pilot project for an autonomous car pioneered by Seat S.A. engineers in collaboration with the automotive Technology Centre of Galicia (Centro Tecnolóxico de Automoción de Galicia, CTAG). The DIANA project is also part of the Seat S.A. Innova platform, a space that promotes continuous innovation in all areas of the company, fostering new ways of working based on co-creation and the start-up model.

A laboratory on wheels. DIANA is an innovation project that was created to test autonomous driving functions in anticipation of Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS). The vehicle was made with a Seat Leon and is equipped with 5 lidar sensors, 5 radars, 6 cameras, 12 ultrasounds and 8 computers that give it 360º vision. These elements “generate a large amount of situational data that are processed in milliseconds and sent to a location module” explains Oriol Mas, R&D engineer at Seat S.A. And he adds: “This lets the car know where it’s positioned and what obstacles are in its surroundings. Then it’s able to decide where it has to go and autonomously performs actions on the steering wheel, brakes, throttle and gearshift.”

The car that drives you. In the DIANA prototype, the driver hands over control to the vehicle, which acts as a chauffeur. Even so, if necessary, the vehicle returns control to the driver who has to stay alert in case they need to take over the steering again. DIANA has three functions: Autonomous Chauffeur, when the system takes control in low-speed traffic situations to perform start and stop manoeuvres; Automated Valet Parking, a driverless parking service; and Summoning, which uses an app to pick up the owner from their location and drive them to a targeted destination. The car has been tested both at the Seat S.A. facilities in Martorell and more recently on a closed controlled urban circuit.

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