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In order to be able to successfully navigate autonomously, a vehicle needs to have an understanding of the local world. It must understand where it is safe to drive, and be able to recognize static and moving objects. It must also be able to relate this understanding to the desired route plan, so that progress may be made in the most sensible way. This paper describes an attempt to bridge the large gap between making sparse three-dimensional measurements of static scene structure, and achieving a useful level of understanding of that structure. In particular, it addresses the need to know where in the scene it is safe to drive. The system described in this paper is known as ALTRUISM-Automatic Local Three-dimensional Representation Using Image-based Scene Measurements. It is complementary to the ASSET system presented recently in this journal, which detects and tracks moving obstacles from a moving vehicle. © 1995.

Original publication




Journal article


Engineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence

Publication Date





271 - 280