Self-Driving cars/ Technologies behind this innovation

in StemSocial10 days ago
The concept of a car that drives itself is no longer novel to us because we have witnessed the production of autonomous vehicles by several significant automakers, such as Tesla and BVM, amongst others. On this particular occasion, I would like for us to have a detailed conversation about this new idea, including its benefits and drawbacks.

According to synopsys definition,

"An autonomous car is a vehicle capable of sensing its environment and operating without human involvement. 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 goes and do everything that an experienced human driver does".

However, the SAE prefers the word automated over the more common autonomous. The phrase "autonomy" suggests things beyond just electronics, and this is one explanation. A self-aware, completely autonomous car could drive itself without any human intervention. Imagine you tell the automobile, "Get me to home," but it takes you to the seaside rather. A self-driving car, on the other hand, would just take commands and go where they were told.

Autonomous vehicles are often referred to as "self-driving" vehicles. The difference, though, is subtle. In spite of the fact that autonomous vehicles can take the wheel in some or all circumstances, they still necessitate a human rider who can take over at any time. It is likely that self-driving cars will be classified as Level 3 (conditional driving automation) or Level 4 (highly automated driving) (high driving automation). Unlike a Level 5 autonomous vehicle, which may drive anywhere without human intervention, these vehicles must adhere to geofencing restrictions.

Since there is no human behind the wheel of a self-driving automobile, it is then equipped with sensors, cameras, radar, and artificial intelligence (AI). If a car is to be considered fully autonomous, it must be able to find its way to a designated location without any help from a human driver, even on roads that have not been modified to accommodate such vehicles.

Audi, BMW, Ford, Google, General Motors, Tesla, Volkswagen, and Volvo are just a few of the manufacturers working on or testing fully autonomous vehicles. As part of their test, Google sent a fleet of autonomous vehicles across more than 140,000 miles of California's roads and highways. The vehicles included Toyota Prii and an Audi TT.

The inner workings of self-driving cars and how they function

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Credit Wikipedia

Systems that allow cars to drive themselves are powered by artificial intelligence. To construct systems that are capable of driving themselves, developers of self-driving cars make use of massive volumes of data generated by image recognition systems, in conjunction with machine learning and neural networks.

The information is then used by the machine learning algorithms when the neural networks have finished identifying patterns in the data. This data consists of images captured by cameras mounted on self-driving cars. The neural network uses these images as training material to learn how to recognize various elements of any given driving environment, such as vulnerable road users, trees, speed bumps, traffic signals, and signboards.

Waymo, Google's autonomous vehicle initiative, uses a variety of sensors, lidar (light detection and ranging; a technology akin to RADAR), and cameras, and analyzes the data generated by these systems to determine what is in the immediate vicinity of the vehicle and forecast what it might do next. This takes place in a very short time frame. These systems benefit greatly from having some time to mature before they are put into action. As more data is fed into the system's deep learning algorithms, it becomes capable of making more sophisticated decisions while driving.

In order to make the operation of Google's Waymo vehicles more clear, allow me to provide a brief explanation.

  1. A destination is entered by the driver (or passenger), and the car's software promptly determines the optimal path to get there.

  2. A 360-degree, roof-mounted Lidar sensor constantly scans the area within 60 meters of the vehicle, producing a real-time 3D map of the car's surroundings.

  3. The car's location on the 3D map is determined via a sensor mounted on the left rear wheel, which tracks the direction in which it is moving.

  4. Distances to obstacles are determined by radar systems in the front and rear bumpers.

  5. The artificial intelligence software in the automobile is connected to all of the sensors, and it also receives input from the video cameras within the car as well as from Google Street View.

  6. The AI uses deep learning to mimic human perception and decision-making, and it directs the use of driver controls such as the accelerator and brake.

  7. The software in the vehicle accesses Google Maps in order to obtain in-depth information about upcoming events, such as landmarks, warning signals, and signals.

  8. For situations where a person must take control of the car, an override feature is at the driver's disposal.

What makes autonomous vehicles special(The features)
The Waymo project being developed by Google is an excellent illustration of a self-driving automobile that is capable of virtually totally independent operation. It is vital to have a human driver present at all times, but they will only interfere with the system when it is absolutely required to do so. Even if it is not truly autonomous in the traditional sense, it is nonetheless capable of driving itself when the conditions are just right. It has a great degree of independence from external influences. Many of the automobiles that are currently on the market for people to purchase have a level of autonomy that is lower than that of fully autonomous vehicles, but they still contain significant self-driving qualities.

Numerous autonomous vehicle models now on the market offer the following driver assistance functions:

By removing the driver's hands from the wheel, hands-free steering can precisely position the vehicle in the center of the road. There is still a requirement for full concentration from the driver.

From a set speed, adaptive cruise control (ACC) will keep the car at a safe distance from the vehicle in front of it.

When a driver strays across lane markings, the lane-centering steering system will intervene and gently guide the vehicle back into the correct lane.

Autonomy degrees of various vehicles

In the United States, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines six tiers of automation, from Level 0 (human drivers) to Level 6 (totally autonomous vehicles). Following Level 0 automation are the subsequent five levels:

Levelslevel of autonomy
Level 1If the driver needs help with the wheel, the brakes, or the gas pedal, they can turn to an ADAS for assistance, but not all three at once. When a motorist begins to veer out of their lane, ADAS technologies like rearview cameras and vibrating seat warnings can help them correct their course.
Level 2An advanced driving assistance system (ADAS) that can steer and either brake or accelerate concurrently while the driver is still attentive and in control of the vehicle.
Level 3In some cases, such as when parking, an ADS is capable of taking over full driving responsibilities. The human driver must be prepared to assume control of the car under these conditions and must remain the primary driver.
Level 4In some cases, an ADS can take over all of the duties of a driver, including keeping an eye on the road and other traffic. Due of the ADS's dependability under those conditions, the human driver is excused from paying full attention to the road.
Level 5An automatic driving system (ADS) in the car serves as a virtual chauffeur and handles the wheel for the driver at all times. Humans are only allowed in the vehicle as passengers; they are not to take the wheel under any circumstances.

Self-driving cars: their benefits and drawbacks

Safety is the primary advantage that advocates of autonomous vehicles point to. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the United States Department of Transportation, an estimated 37,150 persons died in car accidents in the United States in 2017. According to the NHTSA, drunk driving and inattentive driving account for a combined ten percent of all fatal crashes. Autonomous vehicles eliminate this danger, yet they are still susceptible to other causes of accidents, such as mechanical failures.

The potential economic benefits of self-driving cars are substantial if they can drastically reduce the number of accidents. The NHTSA estimates that the cost of injuries to society is $594 billion annually, comprising the cost of lost life and diminished quality of life from injuries ($57.6 billion) and missed job productivity ($57.6 billion).

In principle, if self-driving cars made up the majority of vehicles on the road, congestion would decrease and travel times would decrease. People riding in completely autonomous vehicles would be able to get work done even while in transit. Autonomous vehicles could provide a fresh lease on life for people who are unable to drive due to physical disabilities by allowing them to participate in the workforce in industries that currently exclude them.

However, there is a potential drawback to self-driving technology: the unease some people may feel while traveling in a car without a human driver at the wheel. Unfortunately, as autonomous features grow more popular, human drivers may come to rely too much on autopilot technology, putting their lives in the hands of computers when they should be serving as backup drivers in case of software or mechanical faults.

Some Tesla Model X SUVs have been known to crash when operating in autonomous mode; one such incident occurred in March of 2018. The corporation claims the driver ignored visual and audio signals to re-attach his hands to the wheel. Another accident happened when a Tesla's AI took the reflective surface of a truck's side for the sky.

Issues of safety in autonomous vehicles

Many different types of obstacles, from branches and trash to animals and humans, must be learned to be recognized by autonomous vehicles. Other obstacles on the road include tunnels that disrupt GPS signals, construction projects that need lane changes, and difficult decisions, such as whether and where to pull over to let emergency vehicles pass.

System operators must decide instantly whether to cut speed, make a sharp turn, or keep going at the set rate. In spite of developers' best efforts, reports suggest that self-driving cars hesitate and swerve needlessly when obstacles are spotted.

The deadly crash that involved an Uber-operated autonomous vehicle in March 2018 made this issue clear. According to the business, the vehicle's algorithms detected a pedestrian but interpreted the detection as a false positive, therefore the vehicle did not swerve to avoid colliding with the pedestrian. Because of this accident, Toyota has temporarily suspended public road testing of its autonomous vehicles, however testing will continue in other environments. To further advance automated car technology, the Toyota Research Institute is building a test facility on a 60-acre location in Michigan.

In the event of an accident involving an autonomous vehicle, policymakers have not yet established who is responsible. There are significant worries that hackers can compromise the software that controls autonomous vehicles, and therefore the automobile industry is working to mitigate this danger.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that more work was needed for automobiles to achieve Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), which car manufacturers are required to follow.

To conform to regulations and bring autonomous vehicles to the mainstream, the auto industry and government in China are taking a new approach. The Chinese government has started revamping cityscapes, policies, and infrastructure to accommodate autonomous vehicles. Rules concerning human movement must be written, and mobile network carriers must be enlisted to handle some of the processing needed to feed data to autonomous vehicles. The concept of "National Test Roads" would be put into action. The Chinese government's authoritarian structure allows for this, sidestepping the litigious democracy through which testing must pass in the United States.

That brings us to the conclusion. I want to express my gratitude to you for taking the time to read this post, and I pray that God will richly reward you.

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References

Lutkevich, Ben. “What Are Self-Driving Cars and How Do They Work?” SearchEnterpriseAI, 30 Oct. 2019, www.techtarget.com/searchenterpriseai/definition/driverless-car?amp=1.

Wikipedia . “Self-Driving Car - Wikipedia.” Self-Driving Car - Wikipedia, 1 Mar. 2022, en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-driving_car.

•* “What Is an Autonomous Car? – How Self-Driving Cars Work | Synopsys.” What Is an Autonomous Car? – How Self-Driving Cars Work | Synopsys, www.synopsys.com/automotive/what-is-autonomous-car.html. Accessed 21 Sept. 2022.*

“How Google’s Self-Driving Car Will Change Everything.” Investopedia, 20 June 2022, www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/052014/how-googles-selfdriving-car-will-change-everything.asp.

EES. “Do Self-Driving Cars Use Artificial Intelligence(AI)?” EES Corporation, 20 Aug. 2021, www.eescorporation.com/do-self-driving-cars-use-ai.

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This is really educative and interesting at the same time. I enjoyed the content.

Yeah, there are many advantages of this technology, however my fear here is that these vehicles operate based on the information coded in them and it is practically impossible to code in all the peculiarities and changes that might occur on the road from time to time. Human drivers are flexible and can detect some unprecedented changes on the road and make a decision on the spot. But if this particular information was not coded in the auto driving vehicle, it won't be able to take an instant new decision.

So I think the best option here is to combine the auto driving with a human real time and conscious presence. A fully auto driving vehicle might be very risky in my opinion. Human lives are too precious to be put in the hands of a computer.

I am also thinking of maybe developing a separate route for the auto driving vehicles, but that won't still adress technical issues that might occur in the vehicles.

The minds behind this technology are working so hard on how to improve those qualities to avoid catastrophes or faults. Although it is not 100 per cent feasible to incorporate human ability into the AI of this innovation, but more has been done so far to bring improvements

Yeah.....that's an awesome and great innovation 👍

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What a very detailed review. Thanks a lot. I am personally still very puzzled with self-driving cars. Whereas I never tested one by myself, I would agree with the drawback you mentioned (feeling insecure about not controlling the vehicle). I am however not sure we should call this a drawback. At the end, it is jsut a matter of getting used to it, isn't it?

Finally, I am wondering about the number of accidents. Were there other accidents recorded, or only the two you mentioned?

Cheers, and thanks again for sharing this with us!

You're right, with time, people will consider it a normal aspect of it and thanks for sharing your thoughts

To your last question, well, other accidents had occurred before which I skipped mentioning in this post but the link below will bring to your notice other incidents that resulted due to companies testing their self-driving cars.

https://www.npr.org/2022/06/15/1105252793/nearly-400-car-crashes-in-11-months-involved-automated-tech-companies-tell-regul#:~:text=Automated%20tech%20factored%20in%20392,11%20months%2C%20regulators%20report%20%3A%20NPR&text=Press-,Automated%20tech%20factored%20in%20392%20car%20crashes%20in%2011%20months,July%202021%20to%20May%202022.

Thanks for the extra pieces of information.

Cheers!

Nice complex information! I wish sooner it becomes a reality for all people! I would love it ! I hate driving!
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I have discovered many interesting things with your publication.
I think that this thing about autonomous cars could be a reality in the short term, there are many advances in everything related to artificial intelligence, machine learning, and these technological aspects.
However, and it is what I see, unemployment may increase more and more for this reason, I must assume that it is part of what it is up to us as humanity to assume later.
But, without a doubt, it is a great advance in terms of technology, perhaps it is the solution to space travel beyond what is known, so that human lives are not at risk.

Thank you so much for your contributions. What you said about unemployment is obtainable because this innovation would definitely reduce the rate of employment as may be. But this can not hinder the development of technology as far as autonomous cars are concern. However, this is a welcome development.