Over the years lots of technological improvement has been made in the area of transportation. There were a time people relied on animals to move from one place to another. Technology came revolutionized our transportation system in general. Today we have move from one country to another in a matter of just a few hours. Technology did not stop at cars, it moved to speed trains and aircrafts and so many other innovations. As technology continued to improve, we began to see increased designs in motor vehicles, not just designs but capabilities of this vehicles to make life easier. The world is also making changes thanks to technology, from gas powered vehicles to electric powered vehicles. That’s not all, we now currently have autonomous cars it does not end there and now there are currently plans to manufacture flying cars. The list is endless, and that’s why we have come to love and appreciate technology.
Let’s have a look at the autonomous also known by other names such as the robotic cars, self-driving cars, and even driverless cars.
You still think that self-driving cars are still a dream, you have to wait up from your dreams back to reality. Self-driving cars are here although still in its testing stages it becoming a reality today. Companies like google Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Uber, Volvo and Volkswagen are in various testing stages for the self-driving cars. It is also important to note that most states have started enacting legislation for self-driving cars.
The question you probably want to ask right now is ‘How does self-driving cars work’? So basically, the self-driven car consists of various systems, working together to control the vehicle. Some of this systems includes sensors. Self-driven cars consist of various sensors which includes:
lidar sensors, which is responsible for detecting road edges and also identifying lane markings. It’s able to do this through bouncing of light pulse around the car’s surrounding and creating a 3Dimaging of the surrounding. Its also able to identify pedestrians as well as moving and static objects. Radar sensors is paced throughout the car is able to monitor the position of other cars around the autonomous car.
Ultra-sonic sensors have the ability to detect the position of other cars as well as kerbs when parking.
Supplemental Sensors have the ability to detect other items, its able to identify sounds like siren and also carry out tracking of physical locations through gps.
Video Cameras play an important rule in autonomous cars as they detect traffic signs, read the various road signs and is also on the watch for pedestrians and other individuals.
Central computer system is the brainbox of the autonomous car, the central computer system analyses the data from the various sensors and is responsible for steering the vehicle and also responsible for acceleration, brakes and other necessary controls for the vehicle.
When it comes to autonomous vehicles, there are 5 stages that have to be completed before a car can be described as autonomous:
- Level 0: In this stage, the human driver is totally in charge of the operations of the vehicle. He has total control over the vehicle.
- Level 1: This involves low-level automation that allows the system and the human driver to share control. For example, the adaptive cruise control feature controls the engine and brake power for speed variation and maintenance while the driver would control the steering. Level 1 systems may warrant for full human control anytime and they include:
- Level 2: This level entails that the vehicle manages operations such as acceleration, steering and brakes are in the system’s control, while the driver constantly monitors the autonomous systems operations. Most Level 2 vehicles expect the driver to hold the steering wheel for the autonomous system to continuously operate.
- Level 3: At this stage, the driver is allowed to perform other tasks (such as texting or maybe watching a movie) while his performing other tasks, the system is in control of most vehicle operations. However, the system routinely requires driver’s assistance for a limited time with some operations as specified by the vehicle manufacturer.
- Level 4: This level supports self-driving with minimal driver involvement, but it is for only selected areas on the map, that is mapped locations called geofenced areas.
- Level 5: No human intervention is required.
Its important to note that the test drive is been carried out in some cities, and taxi services are also available with the test running.