An autonomous car is a vehicle capable of sensing its surrounding environment and operating without human involvement. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) currently defines 6 levels of driving automation ranging from Level 0 (fully manual) to Level 5 (fully autonomous). Most importantly, for the autonomous car a human passenger is not required to take control of the vehicle at any time, nor is a human passenger required to be present in the vehicle at all. An autonomous car can go anywhere a traditional car reaches and do everything that an experienced human driver does, says business Astrologer and Astro strategist Hirav Shah
How does autonomous cars work?
Autonomous cars rely on sensors, actuators, complex algorithms, machine learning systems, and powerful processors to execute software. Based on a variety of sensors situated in various places, Autonomous cars create and maintain a map of their surroundings.
While Radar sensors monitor the position of nearby vehicles the video cameras detect traffic lights, read road signs, track other vehicles, and look for pedestrians. On the other hand, Lidar (light detection and ranging) sensors bounce pulses of light off the car’s surroundings to measure distances, detect road edges, and identify lane markings. Ultrasonic sensors in the wheels detect curbs and other vehicles when parking.
Specially designed, sophisticated software then processes all this sensory input, plots a path, and sends instructions to the car’s actuators, which control acceleration, braking, and steering. Hard-coded rules, obstacle avoidance algorithms, predictive modelling, and object recognition help the software follow traffic rules and navigate obstacles.
Main challenges with autonomous cars?
As per the feedback from the market experts, fully autonomous (Level 5) cars are undergoing testing in several pockets of the world, but none of them is yet available to the general public. The challenges range from the technological and legislative to the environmental and philosophical. The below-discussed topics are the main challenges autonomous cars are facing.
Lidar and Radar
Being slightly expensive, Lidar is still trying to strike the right balance between range and resolution. Questions like If multiple autonomous cars were to drive on the same road, would their lidar signals interfere with one another? And if multiple radio frequencies are available, will the frequency range be enough to support mass production of autonomous cars? are yet to get answers.
What happens when an autonomous car drives in heavy precipitation? If there’s a layer of snow on the road, lane dividers disappear. How will the cameras and sensors track lane markings if the markings are obscured by water, oil, ice, or debris?
Traffic Conditions and Laws
Will the car design face any trouble in tunnels or on bridges? How will they do in bumper-to-bumper traffic? Will autonomous cars be relegated to a specific lane? Will they be granted carpool lane access? And what about the fleet of legacy cars still sharing the roadways in the upcoming years? are to be answered.
What about Accident Liability?
Who is responsible for accidents caused by an autonomous car? The manufacturer? The human passenger? As per the latest reports, a fully autonomous Level 5 car will not have a dashboard or a steering wheel due to which a human passenger would not even have the option to take control of the vehicle in an emergency.
Positives of Automation cars
Safety and security:
Manufacturing units are confidently saying that the Automated vehicles’ potential to save lives and reduce injuries on the road journey and support their statement by saying that most of the accidents due to human error. They also believe that Automated vehicles have the potential to remove human error from the crash equation and help to protect drivers, passengers and pedestrians.
Roads filled with automated vehicles could also cooperate to smooth traffic flow and reduce traffic congestion. With automated vehicles, the time and money spent commuting could be put to better use, opinions Hirav Shah
The transformative potential of automated vehicles and their driver assistance features can also be understood by reviewing U.S. demographics and the communities these technologies could help to support, says Hirav Shah A recent study suggests that automated vehicles could create new employment opportunities for approximately 2 million people with disabilities if the car and its design click in the market. If the cars are launched, they will have a scope to provide job opportunity/ transport facility to senior citizens and physically disabled people also.
The launch of the autonomous car definitely has its own benefits and advantages but as discussed above it has even more challenges and numerous doubts to clear in the public and government rulings perspective. To conclude, business and Astro strategist Hirav Shah believes that even though the car is launched it may click on the roads of systematic countries like the US by sustaining in mass population countries like India is a tough task.