What is an Autonomous Car?

Over the years; we have seen cars evolving from the No Automation to the Full Automation. In case you are wondering; the level of automation in a car is just about the extent of human contribution to the activity of the car.

A car capable of sensing its environment and operating without human involvement is an Autonomous Car. This means a human passenger involvement is not required to control the vehicle at any time neither is an human passenger presence required at all. One of the beauties of autonomous cars is that they can do everything and go anywhere a traditional car with an experienced driver can go.

How does an autonomous car work?

If you are already wondering what autonomous cars would have to depend on if they do not require human input; well, here is your answer. Autonomous cars rely on complex algorithms, actuators, sensors, machine learning systems, and powerful processors to execute software.

The first thing an autonomous car will do is to create a map of their surroundings which is then maintained based on the varieties of sensors placed in the different parts of the vehicle.

As mentioned earlier, there are quite a number of Sensors for different functions. The Radar sensor handles the monitoring of the positions of nearby vehicles, while Video cameras detect traffic lights, read road signs, track other vehicles and look for pedestrians. The Light detection and ranging sensor (Lidar) is responsible for bouncing pulses of light off the car’s surroundings to measure distances, detect road edges, and identify lane markings. The wheels have what is called Ultrasonic sensors that detect curbs and other vehicles when parking.

All these sensors are like a unit just like the human sensory units and then processed by sophisticated software. This Software sends instructions to the car’s actuators, which control acceleration, braking, and steering.

About traffic rule and navigation obstacles, hard coded rules, obstacle avoidance algorithms, predictive modelling and object recognition help in handling that.

Benefits of Autonomous Cars

The convenience and quality of life improvement as a result of Autonomous Cars are limitless. I case of forgotten or missing items; the car can do the job for you without a drop of sweat. You can even send your dog for veterinary appointment without having to move an inch.

The most economical and significant benefits of autonomous cars is their potential to dramatically lower CO2 emissions.

According to a recent study, the three trends that has the potential of unleashing the full potential of autonomous cars if adopted are Vehicle electrification, Vehicle automation and ride sharing.

These three revolutions would bring about the following benefits among others:

  • Reduce transportation cost by about 40% considering vehicles, fuel and infrastructure)
  • Reduction in traffic congestion with 30% fewer vehicles on the road
  • Parking lots would be free and could be converted for other uses.
  • Reduction in the emission of CO2 by 80% worldwide.

What other benefits could come from Vehicle automation?

Drop your opinion in the comment box.

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