Owning a self driving car is the dream of all car lovers, well at least of those who long for ultra luxurious cars with mind boggling features and capabilities. Thus, self-driving cars or fully autonomous cars have been one of the most researched technologies in the world’s automotive industry. The top-notch car makers of the world have been busily working on and investing tons of money in the autonomous car technology. Now, many global luxury car manufacturing majors have already come up with a variety autonomous car models, although they are yet not fully automated. Nevertheless, the fully automated cars are also said to be coming our way soon and these self driving cars are supposed to change the entire mobility system in future.
Now, if you dream of fancy cars all the time and are intrigued by the autonomous cars, which are also called the self driving or driverless cars, then here’s all that you need to know:
Self driving car
To begin with an autonomous or self-driving car is exactly what its name suggests, it can drive itself. So, this means you are not required to take the hassle of driving such a car, nor even worry about employing a chauffeur.
Well as mentioned above, various car makers are employing different levels of autonomous driving in their offerings and their specifications are albeit different. However, the most essential technology that is used involves the usage of a plethora of sensors and cameras that act like the car’s eyes, so that can drive itself without colliding. There are various sorts of lasers, sensors and cameras placed all over a self-driving car to enable it detect obstacles and GPS let the car travel along a route that has been preset.
These advanced equipments enable the vehicle get a clear picture of the surroundings, which makes it drive smoothly on the road and detects everything from the car ahead, oncoming cars, and pedestrians.
All these work in conjunction of a smart programming which acts like the car’s brain and takes decisions during various situations. For instance, if the car ahead slows down, the autonomous car will detect it and slow down as well, if a pedestrian comes in the way all of a sudden, then the car would slow down and come to a halt. Along with these, there will also obviously be a wide range of premium features such as light detecting automatic headlights, automatic turn indicators, automatic rain sensing wipers and a lot more to make it a smooth overall automatic driving.
Today’s self-driving cars
Although completely autonomous or driverless cars are yet to come to the market, there are some high-end luxury vehicle models that can already perform many small driving sessions without the help of a human driver, although they are yet not available in the market for sale just now. For instance, some cars can drive straight in a constant speed on a highway stretch on its own, while a few others can park themselves in a designated parking lot without human help. However, in the current market there are several advanced features that already offer some autonomous advantages while driving such as adaptive cruise control that automatically slows down and speeds up the vehicle detecting the speed of the vehicle ahead, automatic emergency braking system that stops the vehicle in distressed conditions to avert colliding against obstacles or pedestrians.
On the other hand, fully autonomous cars are still way into the future, but auto giants and tech giants are making them alike. Global industrial majors such as Google, BMW, Audi and Volvo are all busy working on their representatives that will mark the future of autonomous driving. Google’s driverless car has already performed road tests in the US.
Self driving cars and safety
The auto and tech majors working on self-driving cars have been testing their cars for many years. However, there are still several aspects of an autonomous car which have to be tested constantly to ensure their consistent safety. Although machines are considered to be committing mistakes as compared to human errors, the chances of malfunctioning cannot be ruled out. Thus, more detailed testing and safety issues are being probed by the auto majors when self-driving cars are concerned.
However, there are many autonomous car features that are currently being tested hugely in ongoing cars. These include the adaptive Cruise Control, lane assist system, pedestrian protection system, City Stop, emergency braking system on the currently available luxury car models. These further reassure the manufacturers that these systems work really well in real life conditions and can be used in a fully autonomous car with added cutting edge technology that will make them work in conjunction to drive a car without any driver input.
To conclude, autonomous cars will depend on advanced computers and high-tech gizmos which at least will be working judiciously (mechanically) and not act foolishly like many irresponsible human drivers which includes distracted driving and drunk driving.
Human drivers Vs self driving cars
Not only the self-driving cars are being considered to be much safer than the human driven cars, they are also being looked at as the future answer to the increasing fatalities due to road accidents all over the world. The fact is that a computer can take faster decisions than a human brain makes the self-driving cars much safer. Plus, machines don’t get distracted or willfully drives a car just for the fun of it like the human drivers do. Also computers don’t get angry, sleepy or tired, nor do they drink alcohol, so the chances of road accidents become one in a million. Autonomous cars will also not have poor visibility disadvantages due to fog or blind spots, as there will be advanced equipments in place such as blind spot vehicle detector. This means that self-driving cars will be more precise and responsible when it comes to driving, while these can also see and detect things that humans are unable to even while fully alert.
For instance, Google’s car has the LIDAR system on its behaves like a super advanced avatar of the Microsoft Kinect motion sensing camera and scans the surroundings up to 1.3 million times per second. Which human eye can imaginably do that?
There are many other benefits too, such as the constant safe speed levels of the autonomous cars not only reduce chances of road crashes, but can also make traffic much smoother depending on the number of driverless cars on the road.
Expected availability of the self driving cars
One can expect a fully autonomous car to come to the real market in around 4 to 6 years’ time. While Volvo has announced to offer its self-driving car arriving in 2021, the Google car can be expected to launch earlier.