The age of the self-driving motor car
April 29, 2016 at 10:00 AM
The self-driving (or autonomous) car has now become a reality, with Google Self-Driving Car Project testing a number of variants. The technology that controls the vehicle is so groundbreaking we got amazed! Therefore, in this article, we are going to have a close look at the mechanics that makes a self-driving car work.
To begin with, an autonomous car should be able to process all the information a driver would in order to work in a successful manner. To make this happen, a number of new technologies have been developed in order to give vehicles both “eyes” and “ears”.
Laser Range Finder
The laser system is made of a number of laser beams that allow the car to ‘see’ hazards. The beams hit objects and bounce back allowing the onboard computers to calculate the distances and avoid collisions.
GPRS Satellite navigation
GPRS Satellite navigation system is not new, but this high precision version, allows the car to know exactly where it is positioned on the road. The information is compared with the onboard sensors for added safety.
Front facing camera
The Front-facing camera allows the car to "see" the road ahead and interpret with any road signs, traffic lights, and other road hazards while avoiding pedestrians.
A Bumper radar is another safety feature that allows the car to stay in a certain distance, away from other vehicles that are either in front of it or behind it. This system is already used on normal cars for the adaptive cruise control and anti-collision systems.
Gyroscopes & Altimeters
Gyroscopes & Altimeters, along with other sensors & technologies, track the height and the exact position of the vehicle. The information is sent to the onboard computer, where along with the data taken from the satellite navigation (and the laser range finder), it creates an instance of what is going on in the vicinity of the car, at all times.
Understandably enough, there is a level of scepticism involving self-driving vehicles. Such technologies are largely untested on the open road. However, all features mentioned above are designed with high safety standards, and arguably enough, the car is able to track its own position and react quicker than a human would.
Although there is no traditional steering wheel or manual controls, there is an emergency stop button that will bring the car to a halt in the event of a breakdown or road hazard.
Current trends suggest that self-driving cars will proliferate as the technology becomes better and safety issues are gradually addressed. There is little doubt that in the future, autonomous vehicles will be the preferred means of transport than it is today.