An autonomous car is a fancy way of saying a self-driving car or driverless car.
An autonomous car is a fancy way of saying a self-driving car or driverless car. Essentially, these cars can drive themselves without the driver having to do anything – no more steering, checking blind spots, staying between the lines, parking, or changing lanes on your own – the car will do everything for you.
Major car companies like Toyota, Volvo, Tesla, and Ford are just a few examples of car companies that are working towards bringing fully autonomous cars to the mass market. Tesla already has a car with a self-driving mode for their vehicles.
How Do Driverless Cars Work?
Self-driving cars work through a simple, yet highly complex system using the Internet of Things. The IoT allows devices to be connected wirelessly to a cloud system. So for instance, the car is coupled with an IoT-based technology system that shares information on the road the car is driving on and the vehicle itself when it is moving. An insurmountable amount of information regarding traffic, roads, navigation, and more are gathered by these systems and analyzed by the car’s computer systems so it can drive on its own.
Why Are Driverless Cars Beneficial?
Hopefully, driverless cars will be safer than traditional cars. Car accidents, traffic, and poor driving abilities are all linked to human error and emotion. Theoretically, taking human error and emotion out of driving eliminates crashes and accidents caused the human driving the vehicle. A computer system will constantly take in all driving conditions, like the environment and other cars, at a rate at which the human mind is not capable of.
Additionally, the driver can make and receive calls and texts, use social media, or drink their coffee without worrying about their driving and multi-tasking in an unsafe way. It is believed that this will eliminate, or greatly reduce, the number of car accidents and fatalities due to unsafe and reckless driving.
Risks of Self-driving Cars
A driverless car does not come without risks and concerns. When objects and systems become connected with the Internet and technology, it opens up the ability for hackers to gain access to such systems. If a hacker is able to gain access to a driverless car’s computing system, they may be able to gain control of driving the car, which is dangerous and unacceptable. Great strides must be made in the IoT and self-driving cars to prevent all possible attacks to the car’s computing systems before driverless cars can become a full reality.
There is also concern about how new driverless cars will react to traditionally driven cars when they are integrated on actual roads and are driven by hundreds of thousands of people. Not everyone will be able to willing to switch to driverless cars and it is unclear how traditional cars with human drivers will mesh together on the same roads.
Tesla’s Self-Driving Car
All cars now produced by Tesla have software available for fully self-driving capabilities. Their cars have 8 cameras that surround the entirety of the vehicle with a 360-degree view. The cameras can sense anything within 250 feet. Additionally, Tesla has added 12 ultrasonic sensors that detect soft and hard objects. According to Tesla, the “systems also feature A forward-facing radar with enhanced processing provides additional data about the world on a redundant wavelength, capable of seeing through heavy rain, fog, dust, and even the car ahead.”
Although Tesla still has ways to go before they can make the software in their current cars fully accessible to the driver, they are well on their way to releasing this software sooner rather than later.