Self-Driving Car Explained


The self-driving car seems like something that the ’60s and ’70s expected in the 20th century. They are, in fact, a reality today. While having an entirely self-driven vehicle on the road can be potentially dangerous, which is also the reason why the US does not allow such vehicles on the road, partially self-driven cars, though, are also something that exists. These, the US surely sanctions. The autonomy of a four-wheeler can be of one out of six levels. These levels depend on the features and functions of that vehicle. Before we explore these levels, we will first take a look at the technology behind self-driving cars.

How Do Self-Driving Car Work?

Self-Driving Cars Explained
Self-Driving Cars Explained

Major automobile companies are getting into the business of manufacturing self-driving cars. Self-driving vehicles are empowered with sensors, which connect with something called the car’s actuators. An actuator is a device that controls the steering wheel, brake, and acceleration of the vehicle. The companies use specific algorithms, modeling techniques, and hard-coded rules to wire the car with smart discrimination between objects, using the sensor to navigate through obstacles as well as abide by traffic rules. This can also include differentiating between two objects on the road, such as a motorcycle and a bicycle.

Different companies use different kinds of sensors. The types of sensors for self-driving cars include radars, lasers, sonars, high-powered cameras, etc. For example, Uber is currently in the process of developing a self-driving car, and its model prototype has a grand number of 64 laser beams to use as sensors. There is talk in the research market about connecting self-driving cars to smart traffic signals for higher efficiency. However, the most important thing to do now is to work on building fully autonomous vehicles.

Self-Driving Car: Levels Of Autonomy In Cars:

Researchers use a scale ranging from level 0 to 5. Here’s what all of these levels indicate.

Level 0:

It is an entirely human-driven vehicle. The gear is entirely manual, as are the brakes, acceleration, and steering.

Level 1:

 The car is enabled with automatic breaking, or with cruise control. However, this is the limit of the self-driving abilities of the vehicle. Builders enable these cars with both functions, but you can use only one at a single time.

Level 2:

 When a car has a minimum of two functions that can perform at the same time. For example, cruise control and automatic braking may be together. Other vehicular functions require human involvement.

Level 3:

 The level 3 self-driving car can perform all safety-critical jobs by itself. These cars have a feature where they alert the human in case of any issues, after which the person in the vehicle must take over the steering, acceleration, and braking.

Level 4:

 The level where the car is almost to the point where it is fully self-driven, but you are required to intervene if need be.

Level 5:

The last level of cars is the level at which a vehicle is fully capable of driving itself and can do so in any situation. Much of level 5 vehicles are still in progress. These are what we refer to as self-driving cars.

The Impact Of Self-Driving Car:

Self-Driving Cars Explained
Self-Driving Cars Explained

The first and foremost impact to talk about is safety. People get into accidents using their Level 0 cars, so it is no secret what could happen if people had simply no control of their vehicles. On the other hand, due to the smart features of the self-driving car, accidents may even reduce as the vehicle will be able to sense objects hurtling towards it completely technically.

The second impact is, of course, the environmental impact of self-driving cars. Regular cars contribute much to the environmental damage that occurs around us due to the emission of harmful gases from our daily vehicles. When people begin to understand the convenience of self-driven cars, their sales will skyrocket, and so will the consequent gas emissions.

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