What is autonomous vehicle- How Self Driving Cars Works



What is autonomous vehicle- How Self Driving Cars Works

self driving vehicle

 Table of contents

  • What is autonomous vehicle? 
  • Levels of autonomous vehicles
  • How do self driving cars works? 
  • Benefits of self driving cars? 
  • Are self driving cars safer? 
  • Self driving car companies. 

What is autonomous vehicle

Cars that can drive themselves, often called self driving vehicles, autonomous vehicle, or AVs for short, are said to much safer when compared to normal cars. Nevertheless, three burning questions remains: just how much safer are they?  According to self driving car statistics, nearly 43% of people in the US don't feel safe in a driverless car. 

An autonomous car is a vehicle capable of sensing it's environment and operating without human involvement. A human passenger is not required to take control of the vehicle at any time, nor is a human passenger required to be present in the vehicle at all. An autonomous car can go anywhere a traditional car goes and do everything that an experienced human driver does. 

Self driving cars use sensors to percieve their surroundings such as optical and thermographic cameras, radar, lidar, ultrasound/sonar, GPS, odometer and inertia measurements units. Control systems interpret sensory information to create a three-dimensional model of the surroundings. Based on the model, the car identifies appropriate navigation paths, and strategies for managing traffic control (stop signs, e.t.c)  and obstacles. 

Autonomy in vehicles is often divided into six levels accordingly to system developed by SAE international (SAE J3016). The SAE levels can be divided below. 

levels of self driving cars

Levels of self driving cars

Level 0 — No Driving Automation. 

Level 0 (zero)  refers to a vehicle that has no driving automation technology. In this case, three driver is entirely in charge of operating the vehicle's movement, including steering, accelerating, braking, parking, and any other necessary maneuver to move through car in any direction. However, at level 0, driver support systems that may temporarily intervene during driving may be present. Examples include stability control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind spot warning, and lane keeping assistance. 

Level 1 Driving automation— Driver assistance

At level 1, the lowest rung of automation, or vehicle has at least one driver support system that provides steering assistance or braking and acceleration assistance. The driver remains responsible for driving thr vehicle and must be prepared to take control bat any time and for any reason. Adaptive cruise control is am example of a level 1 driver assistance technology. It maintains a safe following distance between your vehicle and traffic ahead without any intervention by the driver. 

Level 2 Driving Automation— Partial Driving Automation

Level 2 driving automation applies to  vehicle with advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS)  that can take over steering, acceleration, and braking in specific scenarios. But even though level 2 driver support can control these primary driving tasks, the driver must remain alert and it required to actively supervise the technology at all times. 

Levels of self driving cars

Level 3 Conditional Driving automation

It uses various driver assistance systems and artificial intelligence you make decisions based on changing driving situations around the vehicle. People inside the vehicle do not need to supervise the technology, which means they can engage in other activities. However, a human driver must be present, alert, and able to take control of the vehicle at any time, especially in the case of any emergency due to system failure

Level 4 Driving automation— High driving Automation. 

Referred to as high driving automation, level 4 autonomy does not require any human interaction in the vehicle's operation because it is programmed to stop itself in the event of system failure. Since a human driver is never needed. A level 4 vehicle may not have a steering wheel and pedals. 

And yes, at level 4, you can take a nap whilen driving the vehicle. 

Level 5 Driving Automation— Full driving Automation. 

As the highest classification of driving automation, level 5 vehicle is neither bound by geofencing nor affected by weather and transports human beings comfortably and efficiently without requiring a driver. The only human involvement will be set to a destination. 

How do self driving cars work? 

Self driving cars use technology to replace driver assistance with automated safety features to navigate roads. A mixture of sensors, software, radar, GPS, laser beams and cameras monitor road conditions to operate and navigate an autonomous vehicle. 

  • Radar

Radio Detection and Ranging (RADAR) has been used in cars for many years and is the technology that most commonly informs adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking. It works by sending out radio waves that bounce off distant surface. 

  • Lidar

Light imaging Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) uses laser light pulses to scan the environment, as opposed to radar radio waves. Lidar works by firing million of laser signal per second, which are then reflected off object surfaces and returned to a receiver, which creates a 3D model of the car's surroundings. 

  • Obstacles Avoidance

Parts of map buildings and path planning includes avoiding static and moving obstacles, such as pedestrians. AA driverless cara continuously draw maps of their surroundings, they include all visible and predicted obstacles and use machine learning to determine the identity of certain objects. From here, the computer can show their predicted behavior. For instance, self driving cars computer can distinguish a motorcycle from a bicycle and decide accordingly how to avoid either. 

Because obstacles can be hidden and therefore not scannable by a car sensors, self driving cars will ideally be in constant communication with one another via a wireless connection. When one car encounter an obstacles, it will be able to instantaneously alert other cars, so they can adjust paths. 

Are self driving cars safer? 

Over 35,000 people die in the US each year in vehicle related crashes. As much as 94% of crashes happen because of human error, according to NHTSA. One of the most significant motivating factors for driverless cars is the expectation of reduced accidents, injuries and deaths to passengers and pedestrians. 

Autonomous vehicles are currently an unregulated industry without a standard for safety. As a result, the software may be vulnerable to hacking and remote control and more susceptible to computer viruses. With up to 100 on board computers, self driving cars can also experience a computer malfunction, leading to an accident with another vehicle or pedestrian. 

Benefit of self driving cars. 

1. Greater road safety

2. Government data identifies driver behavior or error as a factor in 94 percent of crashes and self driving vehicles can help reduce driver error. 

3. People with disabilities, like the blind, are capable of self sufficiency and highly automated vehicle can help them live the life they want. 

4. Fewer car crashed reduce costs of insurance. 

5. Fewer traffic jams save fuel and reduce greenhouse gases from needless idling. 

6. Automation can help reduce the number of crashes on our roads. 

7. In a fully automated vehicle, all occupants could safely pursue more productive or entertaining activities, like responding to email or watching a movie. 

8. It maintain a safe and consistent distance between vehicles, helping to reduce the number of stop and go waves that produce road congestion. 

Self driving car companies

1. Tesla

Tesla self driving car

Regarding automated vehicle technology, perhaps the most well known company is Tesla. Tesla has made a name for itself with their various self driving automobiles, with cars like the model S and Model Y being some of the most prominent Tesla vehicle. 

Tesla Autopilot is a suite of advanced driver assistance system (ADAS)  feature offered by Tesla that amounts to SAE international level 2 vehicle automation. It's features are lane centering, traffic aware cruise control, automatic lane changes, semi-autonomous navigation on limited access freeway, self parking, and the ability to summon the car from a garage or parking spot. With all of these features, the driver is responsible and the car requires constant supervision. 

The company claims the features reduce accident caused by driver negligence and fatigue from long term driving. 

2. Cruise

cruise self driving car

Cruise LLC is an American self driving car company headquartered in San Francisco, California. Founded in 2013 by Kyle Vogt and Dan kan. Cruise tests and develop autonomous technology. The company is a largely autonomous subsidiary of general Motors. 

Cruise cars consider multiple path per second, constantly choosing the best ones for unexpected events and changes in road conditions. Cruise car tell their wheels and other controls how to move along the selected path and reacts to changes in it. 

3. Waymo

Waymo self driving car

With over 12 million simulated and real world miles driven since 2009,waymo aims to eliminate human error leading to fatal crashes every year. Waymo's vehicles take advantage of real time sensor data and highly detailed custom maps to know the exact location on the road at all times 

4. Zoox

Zoox self driving car

Zoox inc. Is a subsidiary of Amazon developing autonomous vehicles that provide mobility as a service. It headquartered is Foster City, California and has offices of operations in the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle, Washington. 

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