A 19 year old won Intel?s International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) upsetting Google?s self-driving car design. Ionut Budisteanu of Romania says his car beats Google?s efforts hands down when it comes to cost. For his efforts, Budisteanu takes home a scholarship from the Gordon E. Moore Award, named for Intel?s co-founder. Budisteanu told NBC news that, ?The high-resolution 3-D radar used by Google costs about $75,000" [coincidentally the amount of the scholarship he won in the Intel contest.]. The student says his system should be operational for less than $4,000.
The difference is that Google?s self-driving car uses high resolution 3D radar. Budisteanu choose to use webcam imagery with artificial intelligence to recognize small objects along with data from a low-resolution 3D radar for picking out larger objects. The combination identifies both curbs and trees and cars, thus avoiding accidents. In 50 simulations, it worked without error in 47 attempts. However, three tests had the misfortune of not recognizing people between 65 to 100 feet away. Budisteanu said raising the resolution of the 3D radar should correct the problem, but still at a cost less than that of Google.
Self driving cars are thought to be a means of avoiding 87 percent of the car accidents that are caused by human error. The self driving car should see everything that humans overlook ? once the invisible people problem is solved.
Khare-left, Budisteanu-center, Lin-right ? Top winners in Intel Int?l Science and Engineering Fair
The contest, held in Phoenix, Arizona drew 1,600 young scientists from 70 areas around the world. A Saratoga, California student, Eesha Khare, developed a tiny super capacitor to store energy inside a cell phone that fully charges in about 30 seconds. For that device, Intel awarded her a $50,000 prize. Another $50,000 went to Henry Lin who looked to the skies to try and solve questions related to astrophysics by simulating a thousand clusters of galaxies.
The 17 Best of Category winners can be seen in a list here. More than $4 million was given out in awards. Winners came from as far afield as Canada and Japan. Hear what they have to say about what inspires them in this video.