Perhaps someday in the future autonomous vehicles will be the norm, not the exception. There are plenty of hurdles standing in way of that ultimate goal, with safety being the obvious main concern. Doing its part, Waymo has decided to share its rich collection of self-driving car data with researchers at no cost.
If you ask Waymo, the company will tell you it is one of the largest and most diverse self-driving datasets every released for research. It contains data from 1,000 driving segments, with each segment capturing 20 seconds of continuous driving corresponding to 200,000 frames at 10Hz per sensor. This type of continuous footage can be a potential goldmine for researchers attempting to develop models to track and predict road user behavior.
"This data has the potential to help researchers make advances in 2D and 3D perception, and progress on areas such as domain adaptation, scene understanding and behavior prediction. We hope that the research community will generate more exciting directions with our data that will not only help to make self-driving vehicles more capable, but also impact other related fields and applications, such as computer vision and robotics.," Waymo says.
The data represents diverse driving environment, including dense urban and surbuban areas across Phoenix, Arizona, Kirkland, Washington, and Mountain View and San Francisco, California. It also includes data collected during daytime, nighttime, and dawn driving in the sun and rain.
In total, there are 12 million 3D labels and 1.2 million 2D labels for researchers to sift through. High-resolution, 360-degree views from lidars and five front-and-side-facing cameras are part of the dataset as well.
What this kind of data can ultimately lead to is better self-driving technology, and safer roads in the long run. Autonomous vehicles are far less prone to be in an accident compared to a human driver, but they are not infallible. Accidents and even fatalities have occurred. Hopefully the wealth of data Waymo is sharing will make such incidents even more rare than they already are.