Autonomous Vehicles Recognize Location Based on Terrain

An algorithm developed at Caltech enables autonomous vehicles to determine their location simply by looking at the terrain around them. For the first time, the technology works regardless of season, its developers said.

The general process around which the current work (and algorithm) stems was developed in the 1960s and called visual terrain-relative navigation (VTRN). By comparing nearby terrain to high-resolution satellite images, autonomous systems can determine their location.