Monday, January 28, 2019

Self-Driving Cars - The Future of Driving

Self-driving car


“If you don’t believe this you need to leave, this has to be a true thing.”                        
- Paul Newman

The autonomous car will certainly be one of the greatest innovations of the 21st century. Having revolutionized the transport sector, this breakthrough is set to have a profound impact on the daily lives of millions of people in a few years.

The emergence of new technologies has already triggered a series of in-depth changes in the transportation sector at several levels, ranging from passenger services to operations and maintenance. This has also given rise to changes in the automobile and road transport sectors. Given the mobile tools and applications on offer, players employing disruptive strategies are already strongly calling existing models into question and, as such, paving the way for the emergence of numerous services.

Vehicles are becoming increasingly autonomous and connected. Many initiatives have been implemented and considerable progress made in the field of connected, automated and autonomous vehicles. Some mediatized examples include but are not limited to, the Google and Tesla self-driving cars.

Automatic technologies are therefore already integrated, even in car control functions. In addition, vehicles are becoming increasingly connected with the outside world, be it with other vehicles, infrastructures or platforms. Technological progress is being made at several levels:
  1. Data: Data storage capacity and multiple information sources (sensors, user information, etc.) exponentially enrich the reservoir of available data, as well as that of geographical and traffic data
  2. Analysis capacity: With processes such as data mining and predictive algorithms, technology is making it possible to go beyond simple data collection thanks to computing power and storage capacity
  3. Automation and AI: In addition to data analysis, robotization can be used to make vehicles act in accordance with the information processed, a trend that is making vehicles increasingly intelligent.
This trend is set to gain momentum thanks to the hybrid nature of these cars in which the driver can still take back control of the vehicle, on the motorway and in traffic jams for example. On the other hand, fully autonomous vehicle usage has already been tested and solutions rolled out, although these are generally limited to specific stretches (short-distance shuttles and low-density roads). The different levels of autonomy, defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), will give rise to several development models.

Also read: Best Car Audio System 2019

Self-Driving Cars Timeline:


  • 2011 – Assessment of the City Mobil 1 (European R&D Autonomous Transport Project) 
  • 2013  -  Nissan Test in Japan (Autonomous Vehicle Motorway Test)
  • 2014  -  French Launch of PROJECT SCOOP@F
  • 2015 - Google circulates 1st Prototype of its autonomous cars on roads; Tesla launches its Automatic Pilot
  • 2016 - Mercedes launches its VAN OF THE FUTURE for LAST MILE MANAGEMENT; FCA/Google Alliance
  • 2017    -  IBM files patent FOR A COGNITIVE SYSTEM enabling switch between driving and autonomous modes; IBM/Intel to test 40 AV models
  • 2020  -  Toyota to test its autonomous cars at the TOKYO OLYMPICS GAMES 
Self-driving vehicles could rapidly become common sights on road. Such self-driving cars will internally integrate many different inputs to analyze their environments and issues such as road conditions in order to make decisions about where and when to drive. Using learning algorithms, they will build knowledge bases of road conditions and learn to manage unusual and exceptional conditions such as plastic bags blowing across the road, or obstructions in the road.

Ethics to Build Self- Driving Cars:

Autonomous cars may report standard data to central hubs, rather like an aircraft sends out standard data.  Location data will enable it to plan routes and change routes as it is progressing.  These robot cars will be able to manage traffic flow through communication and effectively self-organize traffic systems.  Both vehicle to vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) may become standard parts of autonomous cars. 

The networked, driverless car could be centrally controlled, delivered to a specific location and then programmed to take a fixed route. It can depend on GPS navigation, it can be part of a transport infrastructure, subject to control signals from the infrastructure. It could be constantly monitored and open to intervention from traffic controllers and police, for example, as well as the driver.

These cars may decide when driving conditions are unsuitable. They will learn to improve at driving; they will bid for insurance in real time. Where two cars are involved in a collision,  active buckling control may activate so that the cars share information in order to determine who take the brunt of the collision, who buckles most based on the size of the car and other factors.  The self-driving car will offer the driver freedom to sit back, or complete work and save time. Driving may become a thing of the past. Commuting may become a chance to hold meetings, finish documents. 

Also read: What is IoT (Internet of Things)?

Philosophical End:
While many commentators refer to connected cars, some projects are pursuing the development of autonomous self-driving cars which are self-contained and have no dependency on anything external to their own capability. These cars will act without a need to consult controllers or satellite navigation systems, independent of infrastructure, not requiring to communicate with other cars, whether driverless or not. All the information the car uses to drive it has learned for itself. It is an individual, standing alone, driving to its own agenda, neither transmitting information nor needing to receive information. Such a truly autonomous car is a self-contained system, relying on the information it derives from its own sensors and the learning algorithms built into its onboard computer systems. 

Such cars offer the possibility of complete autonomy for the car, which is in effect a robot which can navigate and make its own decisions about when and how to drive as well as how to get to a location. The ambition for autonomous cars is a complete autonomy which does not rely on infrastructure, connection with central systems or even with GPS, an autonomy where the human is eliminated from the loop, an autonomy where the car is self-determining, self-correcting, eventually self-healing and perhaps ultimately self-aware.

This ultimate autonomy may not only prove to be undesirable, but ultimately unachievable. Perhaps born of a philosophy which sees the individual as the paramount object of focus. The truly autonomous car is an enlightened car truly able to think for itself, to employ and rely on its own capabilities to determine what to believe about its environment and how to act.  Technological advances and a reliance on the firm ground of mathematics will release it from its self-incurred immaturity; from its inability to use its own understanding without the guidance of another. 

Also read: 5 Must Have Car Accessories.

Components Required:

  • Sensors – They will be required in order to read every set of signals from motion to proximity of two objects i.e. an object and the vehicle.
  • Sensor automated Gear and Brake System: Signals from sensors regarding alert should be transmitted without any delay so that proper measurement can be taken automatically.
  • Glass Lens: Sensors data will be sufficient enough to understand the things forward, it should bring the concept of optics and image processing changing from time to time interval to understand the motion on the roads and anything else which are of utmost importance.
  • Systems or Mobility Connectivity: These data from the sensors will need guidance to build its data sets to design the algorithms when to stop and when to start and this should have some mobile connectivity which is connected with the phones using some devices on cloud mode. Therefore it will be remote man-made controls which will design these algorithms with the help of machine learning.
  • Algorithms: This will become the crux of driverless cars in the future which should be highly complex to handle all sorts of situations and make error-free decisions. Time should be given to make algorithms through the data sets they will gain through some man-made controls.
Where India Stands?
With such a dynamic PM, we have seen various scientific and technological advancements in the recent past to bring the era of digitization more closely. Recently, 106th Indian Science Congress was conducted in the city of Jalandhar, Punjab. The focal theme of this event was Future India: Science & Technology.  If specifically determined it happened in the premise of Lovely Professional University. During this event, some students presented Solar powered self-driving cars. Using solar energy, it will cause motions in these cars. The students embedded some of the algorithms to make it possible to car move and directed accordingly to move to certain directions. However, future implications are running to make it possible to enable these cars on road one day.

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