The future of motoring will accelerate into a new view this year, with UK and Dutch announcing that they will allow driverless cars to legally operate on public roads once they have been tested fully. This is according to the latest BBC updates.
The name “driverless car” cuts across different premises. There is a high degree of autonomy on the cruise control, anti-lane drift, automatic braking and self parking functionalities – the headache of finding a parking is now over; you can get out of your car and leave it to find the most appropriate parking by itself. You can also continue working while your car picks the groceries for you takes the kids to school or drives that sick grandpa to hospital.
Actually, a self-driven car is popularly known for its autopilot abilities to take charge of the steering, acceleration, braking and indication throughout the entire journey.
Generally, these cars are said to be safer and lower the cost of fuel consumption. They would eliminate accidents often caused by driver’s errors, which is the cause of almost all car accidents. Because they are designed to precision, these cars will improve traffic flows and dramatically increase highway capacity, thus diminishing traffic jams. Most importantly, drivers can engage in other activities like reading, working or even sleeping.
Big courier companies will finally get a huge relief due reduction hiring drivers’ costs, especially for short distant errands. Long distant drivers that complain of fatigue and missing out in social circles can now afford to smile.
Unlike planes in the skies which don’t face lots of obstacles, the ground is much more crowded. Therefore, awesome and modern day technologies have been developed to handle these problems. The greatest innovation included in a driverless car is the Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) which works like the eye of human. The difference with the eye human is the capacity of the LIDAR to capture information about millions of small details surrounding the car every second of the journey.
The LIDAR technology is not new because it’s already being used by Google and Nokia to create online maps. Another amazing technology includes Artificial Intelligent (AI) software that can translate all the 360-degree images captured by cameras. Anything on the path of the car like pedestrians, construction on the road, pedestrians and other objects warn the system. View images of the driverless car here
The AI can also use GPS, radar, satellite information and ultrasound sensors to detect and sense objects close to the car. All the data acquired by the software is used to control how the vehicles moves and when to stop. Scientists are now debating whether to fit these vehicles with the traditional systems like braking and steering or to just let the car rely on the computer software. Either way, the experts agree that the system should be efficient enough to allow a human intervention should there be an emergency.
The history of driverless cars dates back to many years than most people know. It’s Leonardo da Vinci who designed a prototype of a driverless car way back in 1478. This prototype of da Vinci was a self-propelled robot that was powered by springs and with a programmed steering wheel and could also drive on predetermined courses.
Self-driving cars have not yet been legally allowed on modern roads but Nevada, USA was the first state to allow these cars on public roads in June 2011. Latest innovations have to comply with California laws.
Google robotic cars have been installed with equipment worth about $150,000 and a LIDAR system of about $70,000. The top of the roof (exterior) is mounted with a Velodyne 64-beam laser. This device allows the car to generate a clear and detailed 3D map showing the surrounding environment. The map is then combined with high resolution maps of the world which creates several data models to allow the car to drive on its own.
Driver’s error is the most common causes of traffic accidents – with cell phones, booming music and other entertainment systems installed in the car, complicated road systems and more traffic on the roads. The most important development with driverless cars is the technology of making the car to drive itself safely, without making any accident, even hitting a piece of rug on the road.
If technology continues on its current course, these cars will do the concentration for the driver and leave you to attend to other chores while driving to your destination like finishing that urgent report on your laptop. The automakers are developing complex systems that allow these cars to drive themselves without too much initial human input.
The experts are furthering existing technologies like pre-safe and self-parking systems. They are making it possible to even fit that old clunker with some driverless technologies.
In 2014, the FBI warned that these types of cars could be used for criminal intentions. They cited that the driverless car can be used by adversaries to break the law – for example, who would be charged for mechanical problems that may cause an accident the owner, manufacturer or the car?
The companies that develop and test driverless vehicles include the BMW, Audi, Google, Ford, General Motors, Volvo and Volkswagen. Ford is planning to launch driverless cars on roads within next 5 years. Google has already tested several driverless cars like the Audi TT and Toyota Prius by navigating over 500,000 kilometers in California highways and streets. An accident was reported during one of these navigations, but actually, there was a human driving.
From the experience in the Automobile industry, Matt Baines has been exposed to a large number of motor topics. I have drawn on this knowledge in my personal encounter with various motors and in writing white papers for the industry and clients from numerous platforms.
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