Introduction- the world of autonomous vehicles
An autonomous car is a vehicle that is capable of sensing its environment and navigating without human input. It uses a variety of techniques to detect their surroundings, such as radar and GPS. SAE International has a formal classification system for autonomous vehicles, which is based on the amount of driver intervention and attentiveness required. The levels are ranging from level 0 to level 5.
For level 0-2, the vehicle still needs driver’s attention to operate. Level 0 means that the vehicle is not automated, and level 1 means that the driver and automated system shares control over the vehicle. For level 2, the automated system takes full control of the vehicle, but the driver must monitor the driving and be prepared to take actions once the system fails. For level 3-5, the vehicle can operate by itself. For level 3, the driver can safely turn their attention away from the driving tasks, and the vehicle will handle emergency situations. Level 4 requires no driver’s attention for safety, and the vehicle would be able to safely abort the trip. Level 5 describes the circumstance that the vehicle is fully automated, and no human intervention is required.
An example of the automated car is Self-Driving Car developed by Waymo. It can drive by itself, as it has sensors and software that are designed to detect pedestrians. The model has been tested in several locations on the road, including Mountain View in CA and Austin in TX. Another example is the model S developed by Tesla, which is a full self-driving vehicle. Tesla had four test cars on California roads, and there were no accidents or collisions happen, except for few disengagement occurred on wet roads. Waymo is a level 4 vehicle, as drivers can leave their seats, but self-driving is supported only in limited areas. Tesla S, however, is a vehicle in level 3, as the vehicle will handle general situations, but the driver must still be prepared to intervene within some limited time.
In the future, automated vehicles can be applied to public transit, personal vehicles, and automated flights may be developed. These applications would be beneficial to society, as roads would be safer, traffic and fuel efficiency will greatly improve, and people will have more free time.