cars are one of the most important human-being needs nowadays. Every day there is a new technology being invited in the field of cars and driving.
The Future of Self Driving Cars
Self-driving cars are the automotive future. They started as a mere fantasy but are now projected to be on the market in 2020. Currently, self-driving cars are best at driving on familiar and empty roads in good weather under the supervision of a professional driver. Basically, they know how to drive as well as any human first-time driver does. Future self-driving cars will be equipped to handle the unpredictable, evolving real world and adjust to it. This adjustment involves understanding the terrain surrounding the car far beyond everyday roads.
Autonomous Versus Semi-Autonomous
The future of cars is predicted to be fully autonomous. But first, self-driving vehicles pass through several stages of semi-autonomy. Currently, cars have autonomous features like self-steering and advanced cruise control but drivers possess most of the control. Progressive stages involve increasing the amount of autonomous features a car can handle at once.
Ideally, a fully autonomous car does not need a human being in it for monitoring. An autonomous car would not need pedals, a steering wheel or even a driver’s seat. But this level of autonomy is not likely what 2020 will bring.
Semi-autonomous vehicles will be available in the near future. These cars will be mostly autonomous but will require driver monitoring. This means that drivers cannot take naps in their cars while driving. The steering wheel and pedals are not decoration: they are for emergencies and manual overriding. Currently, semi-autonomous cars have advanced cruise control and provide lane- . With semi-autonomous vehicles, drivers are still responsible and liable in an accident.
A big concern and area of opportunity is how a self-driving car will know where to go. The simplest answer is to have an internal GPS system. The issue with GPS systems is their limited ability to see obstacles. Many current systems can notify drivers of traffic and offer alternate routes but not about a new pothole or construction work.
The GPS systems of self-driving vehicles must be able to identify and react to unforeseen obstacles. Rural roads, hidden roads, unmapped towns and road changes due to weather conditions are challenges that self-driving cars must be able to solve.
Currently, autonomous vehicles can follow maps edited by humans. The process involves first driving the car equipped with LiDar around. Then, humans must edit the mapped drive to program signs and traffic signals for the car to understand. The plan for the future involves the car doing this on its own and eliminating the need for continually updated maps.
Non-GPS Navigation Methods
To be truly accurate, the self-driving car must know its next position within inches of its current position. GPS systems can get blocked by tunnels and tall buildings or fall out range in rural areas or poor weather.
More reliable methods of navigating involve radar, ultrasonic sensors, laser sensors and cameras. These methods can update the car about its environment in real-time. This way the car can respond, not just follow a route.
GPS software on phones often get things wrong. A street is missing or the app attempts to take you through a blocked-off road. Advances in digital mapping techniques would make self-driving cars better equipped to identify and be alerted to new roads. Self-driving cars are projected to be able to know about and navigate through these roads.
Self-driving vehicles are predicted to be able to spot new and unpredictable obstacles. Mistakes like confusing a woman for a bicycle, as occurred with a self-driving Uber, will have to be fixed and prevented.
A passenger’s ability to respond to an obstacle before the car is an issue that car and tech companies want to make irrelevant. The future of avoiding obstacles depends upon vehicles having accurate perception and decision-making abilities. It involves implementing sophisticated Artificial Intelligence that can learn to distinguish familiar and unfamiliar roads and obstacles.
Interacting with Signals
For seamless and safe driving, autonomous vehicles will be able to talk to each other, not just follow road rules. Each car will know where it is positioned relative to other cars and its destination. Self-driving cars must accurately pick up on multiple communication signals like location, speed, direction and surrounding traffic of other cars, pedestrians and traffic lights.
Effective signaling would alert your car to break safely when the car in front communicates its own braking signal. Any accident or obstacle would be picked up from miles away due to the input of several signals. Thus, cars receiving the signal could reroute and avoid danger or traffic. Self-driving cars would eliminate self-preserving reactions like slamming on breaks or swerving.
Ideally, the cars wouldn’t need as many reference points such as other cars, signs or traffic lights. The goal is for them to figure out any road like humans can. Obtaining long ranging signals would allow a vehicle to anticipate hazards from miles away and respond sooner.