How would it be if you are driven to your office by your own car? Self-Driving Car Technology is on the way to make this reality. After the innovation of human-controlled mechanical car, it will be the next biggest change in the Automobile industry. Surely it will lead us to the next level of transportation.
The car is one of the must needed things in the 3rd world for transportation. Before the starting of modern civilization, people used animals or have to walk to go another place. It doesn’t meet any emergency situation. You will be amazed to know that the first complete modern car, “Motorwagen” was built in 1885 by Karl Benz in Mannheim, a German city. It was a three-wheeled vehicle and was first driven in 1885. By many types of research and development, now we get our modern car which is more efficient, speedy and safe.
It is estimated that there are about 1.015 billion (2011) cars in the world. The number is increasing day by day. But as the number of cars is increasing, at the same time the number of car accidents is also increasing rapidly. On average more than 3,287 people have died in road accidents every day around the world and much more got injured. But the sorrowful fact is many are out of this statistics. So it is high time to think about a new way of car driving and transportation system.
About Self-driving Car
The first question that will arrive in your mind is what is a self-driving car? The simplest answer will be it is a car without a human driver because it can drive itself automatically. It is also known as ‘Autonomous car’, ‘Driverless car’ or ‘Robotic car’ etc. It is designed to detect the environment around the car and it can navigate itself to go ahead without any human command or control. It can predetermine its destination and take steps to go forward.
Self-driving Car Technology
Actually, a self-driving car technology is a combination of many modern technologies in a normal car. It uses the camera, GPS system, computer vision, laser light, radar, odometry and many more sensors to drive the car smoothly over the roads. This car has advanced control systems which are used to analyze data from different sensors and cameras to plan a path to the desired location. This technology is safe, flexible, and efficient.
History of Self-driving Car
The concept of the self-driving car is not so old. Back in 1939, Norman Bel Geddes gave the idea of a self-driving car. But the first truly self-driving car was appeared in 1980 by ‘Navlab’, a project by Carnegie Mellon University and ‘ALV’ project in 1984. Mercedes-Benz and Bundeswehr University Munich’s ‘EUREKA’ was shown in 1987. Since then this technology is much more developed.
Right now there are more than 40 companies whose are working with self-driving car technology including Waymo, Tesla, Delphi and so on. But this technology is still in its testing period. It needs more improvement to be user-friendly. Though right now to run a self-driving car over the city roads is not approved by any country, but several companies got permission only for testing this technology in some cities like New York, California, Michigan for their development purposes.
How it works
How the car drives itself? It seems to be very hard. But if you look inside, you will find the process easy. There are total 5 types of autonomous car in the automobile industry. In general, they have mainly 5 units that worked at the same time to drive the car. They are:
- Lidar Unit uses laser beams to create a 360° 3D image around the car.
- Main Computer Unit analyzes data and compares with the maps to take steps.
- Camera Unit to detect the distance of any moving objects. It is also used to see the traffic lights.
- Additional Lidar Unit works same as Lidar Unit but the difference is it is installed at the bottom part of the car and Lidar unit is at the top.
- Radar Sensors Unit find any obstacles and calculate the distance.
At the software portion, most of the self-driving car technology use SLAM algorithms, which can control data from multiple sensors and offline map to detect the current location of the car. With the combination of these units, the car can drive itself in many cases.
Even you can get some extra advantages like detecting blind-spot, self-parking, Enhancing control of a car, planning of the shortest path to the final destination, drifting warning, avoiding a collision and so on.
Why Self-driving Car technology?
It is thought that self-driving car is the next level of technology. There are many reasons that are why we need a self-driving car as our next transportation system. Let’s look at the advantages of a self-driving car
- Traffic collision: In most cases, driver’s faults are the main reason behind car accidents. As a human, no driver can give 100% concentration on driving especially when they are on a long drive or at night. A self-driving car can make the difference because the computer will never be tired or they will not drive aggressively, by this car can save many lives and medical costs. It is thought that self-driving car can reduce 90% of accidents and can save more than $500 billion every single year only in the USA.
- Traffic jam: Self-driving vehicle technology is all about calculating the distance from other cars and objects around the car. For this, it can use every possible space on the roads without touching another car. So it will also be helpful to reduce the traffic around the big cities.
- Light car: On the other hand, this type of cars does not need any driver seat. This will save a big space that will make the car more light, speedy and powerful. This space can be used for any other purposes also.
- Self-Parking: Parking is a big issue for the traffic jam in big cities. Self-driving car technology can park the car perfectly by using the best use of available spaces.
- Environmental: There will be some environmental benefits of the driverless car also. Almost 25% of energy is used by cars and a huge portion of greenhouse gases came from the car around the world every day. Most of the self-driving cars are run by fully electric energy. They use less gas and energy compared to today’s mechanical car. This will make a huge impact on our environment.
- For people: Disabled people, blind or children, and old people will get a huge advantage from a self-driving car. It will increase human productivity by giving them more time to do other works.
Right now almost every automobile company and tech giants spending million-million dollars to improve the technology. It is estimated that self-driving car will worth a $42-billion market by 2025. USA, Germany, France, and UK are playing a major rule in the improvement of self-driving car technology.
In Europe, cities like Belgium, France, Italy and the UK are planning to operate transport systems for autonomous cars. Top automobile companies like Audi, Volkswagen have promised to produce fully self-driving cars by 2020-2021. Delphi’s self-driving car has already completed a 9-day road trip from San Francisco to New York City that is almost 5,470 km.
Though there are lots of advantages of the self-driving car for the future world, there are still some problems which are the reason of headaches for the automobile companies.
- The human brain is much sharper and better than a computer to take a decision in sudden and unexpected moments. In examples, the Self-driving car can’t predict a moving human or a reckless driver. This will cause serious accidents.
- This car is designed to survive in any weather but when the lines on the road are covered by snow, it can’t drive properly because they are dependent on these lines.
- Even for snow or rain, sensors and cameras of the car may not work properly. If any sensor or camera of the car stop working properly in the middle of the road, this will bring a massive disaster there.
- There are some questions about cybersecurity. If any hacker from outside of the car takes the control of the car by hacking, this might lead the car to accident or to drive towards hacker’s desired place.
- The self-driving car used updates and maps from its cloud, so it would be a risk for the security of the car and passenger.
- Another fact is these cars will be a problem for other cars which are human controlled. When a driver sees a car without any driver in front of him, he will be frightened first He may lose his mind what to do. This may causes accidents too.
- The prize of a self-driving car is also very high than the normal car. It uses high-resolution cameras, sensors, radar and so on that are very expensive. For this, the prize of this kind of car will be very high for people to buy it. If somehow automobile companies managed to reduce the cost, they will only benefit rich people because they will be far from cheap.
Engineers are trying hard to find a solution to these problems. If self-driving car technology overcomes this obstacle this will make the technology more user-friendly and flexible. Surely it will rule the next world, will make your life more easy, comfortable and safe.From the starting of modern civilization, people are searching for an easier life and living way. Self-driving technology is the newest invention in the transportation system. As the population of the world is increasing rapidly,
From the starting of modern civilization, people are searching for an easier life and living way. Self-driving car technology is the newest invention in the transportation system. As the population of the world is increasing rapidly, scientists are concern about the environment and energy resources A self-driving car can give us a big solution to this concern.
There are many advantages and disadvantages of a Self-Driving Car Technology. Some of you may support it or some may deny it. Time will give the answer will this technology rule the automobile industry and will it be the driver of your car or not. But it is true that it will lead us to a new transportation system that is safe, efficient, powerful and green for the environment.