The need to build safe and efficient self-driving vehicles is an issue that has never been more pressing. With the amount of traffic accidents occurring every year, it is easy to see that putting someone else at the wheel is not viable. Admittedly, self-driving cars are no longer a dream. The technology has advanced enough that prototypes can take to the roads, albeit with a driver at the wheel as a safety net. However, autonomous vehicles are getting closer to reality each day, with companies like Tesla already using them to make deliveries in some states. The following article explores some of the futuristic expectations for those who design and operate self-driving cars.
How does a self-driving vehicle work?
A self-driving vehicle has sensors and other devices to observe its surroundings and navigate around obstacles in the road. These sensors include radar, sonar, laser or video cameras, and GPS receivers. These devices help the car avoid obstacles like pedestrians or other cars by stopping at cross streets before navigating through intersections.
The self-driving car has a LiDAR camera that sends out sonar waves and maps the environment in 3-dimensional space. The map is used to calculate where obstacles are located and how far away, they are. It is also used to detect nearby vehicles and potential hazards such as pedestrians, cyclists, or traffic lights. As revealed at the Dioram, the self-driving car then uses these factors to control its direction, speed, acceleration, and braking. The LiDAR camera also uses cameras that process images of its ahead to avoid collisions or sudden turns.
The self-driving car is directed by a computer unit that makes decisions based on its senses’ real-time conditions. This computer unit is programmed to decide where to drive and how fast or slow to drive. It also determines how much battery power is needed and what other vehicles are on the road.
The self-driving car’s technology allows it to navigate through cities, towns, and rural areas without the need for a person behind the wheel. This technology helps avoid collisions, which help reduce traffic congestion, improve road safety, and reduce carbon emissions by eliminating the need for thousands of accidents and traffic jams.
What is the future of self-driving vehicles?
Self-driving cars will be redesigned soon with features such as LIDAR, which compares lasers reflected from objects in front of it to derive distances and shapes. That will replace mechanical systems like radar and cameras, which are currently used as supplementary sensors for self-driving vehicles. Also, this new technology might pave the way for an even more promising development, which is removing the driver from the equation altogether by having the cars navigate and make decisions independently. After the Audi S-Series became able to hit the track at 140mph, it was only natural that auto-pilot systems made an appearance in 2017.
With this technology being so well established in aviation, there is very little doubt that it will soon become a part of everyday life – in one form or another. With 60 million people dying each year due to traffic accidents and millions of others surviving disfiguring injuries, self-driving cars are expected to help reduce both of those figures.
With all these changes expected in the next few years, it is clear that self-driving cars will take center stage in our lives. With such a major impact on people’s lives, it is clear that there will be many changes in society in the years to come. Some of them include:
1) Self driving cars will be able to help you find parking spots.
With so several vehicles on the road today, sometimes it is challenging to find a parking spot when you need one. However, specific spots will be dedicated for parking purposes only with vehicle fleets driving themselves. Personal vehicles will not be allowed to stop there unless they are dropped off by someone else. There is no need for humans to park in specific spots anymore unless it’s for a particular reason. Therefore, the self-driving cars are expected to reduce the burden on parking lots, which could pave the way for more green spaces in cities and neighborhoods. That will be a welcome change as people become more conscious of climate change and seek ways to reduce the carbon footprint.
2) Self-driving cars will pick up friends and family from your place of work
Autonomous driving technology can also help you pick up people from your workplace, whether family members or colleagues who want to meet you at the office. Your car could book a limo and head out to pick up the person you are meeting up with or drop them off at their destination if they happen to live in a different city than you do. Also, self-driving cars could make a living in rural areas more attractive. People who live in remote locations where public transportation is not available and do not have private vehicles could be the first to experience the benefits of this new technology
3) Minimized collisions and pollution
Self-driving vehicles will keep the roads clear of debris and pollution with self-driving capabilities. One of the critical aspects of these vehicles is that they do not throw trash out the window or pollute the environment with harmful substances. They use minimal electricity and can keep the roads and planet clear of litter.
Sensors will enable automated vehicles to avoid obstacles with millimeter precision, be aware of traffic conditions in a radius of up to several miles and detect pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicles, including trucks and construction equipment. This technology could significantly reduce the number of traffic collisions caused by human error, which account for more than 90 percent of all crashes.
Personal cars will become more like taxis you can hail on your smartphone. If there is an app for everything else, why not apps for getting in your car? Instead of owning a vehicle that sits outside doing nothing when you are not in it, self-driving cars will be available to you at the touch of a button. You will be able to find one nearby, pay for its service with your mobile device, and ride around town in complete comfort.
For a time, it seemed like self-driving cars would be limited to luxury cars, and even then, only highly paid professionals could afford them. That day has passed, as it turns out that virtually every automobile on the road today is a potential candidate for autonomous driving. However, not everyone wants to go there. Critics argue that self-driving vehicles will lead to a huge loss of jobs and safety concerns about liability. In summation, the future of self-driving vehicles is, without question, superbly promising, but researchers are just not yet sure what challenges lay ahead for this nascent technology.