How Close Is the Future of Full Autonomous Driving?

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Imagine just getting into the driver’s seat, typing in a destination, and then just relaxing. That’s what full autonomous driving might look like, and it’s not that far off from happening.

Autonomous driving is described as the use of artificial intelligence to automatically drive a car. We have come to a point where all those sci-fi movies that have self-driving cars are about to become a reality. 

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With over 40 companies actively investing in such technology, it won’t be too long before we can see a car running by itself. But, what is the technology behind autonomous driving, and what are the benefits of having self-driving cars? 

How Close Is the Future of Full Autonomous Driving?
Image Source: Machine Design

What Is Autonomous Driving?

Autonomous driving is simply a vehicle that uses a certain technology that will allow it to operate without any human driver. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has categorized levels of automation for cars that have such capabilities. 

This will allow each car to be gauge based on their interaction with the driver as well as the ability of the car to maintain its automation. Level 0 consists of having a human driver. Level 1 and 2 will require some driving assistance.

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Level 3 and 4 will have a certain level of automation wherein the driver will still need to monitor the road. Level 5 will allow the car to fully drive itself in various environmental conditions without the help of a human driver.  

The Technology Behind Autonomous Driving

The technology used in autonomous driving uses a virtual map of the direct surroundings of the car. It uses different systems such as GPS, sensors, and radars that will help create a virtual picture for the car to recognize. 

A technology called Laser Illuminated Detection and Ranging technology (LiDAR) will help the car interact with its surroundings thus avoiding any collisions. 

A specific control system then processes this information and decides on how the car is driven. The system will detect road conditions, environmental conditions, and object detection.

Benefits of Self-Driving Cars

There are certainly a lot of benefits to having self-driving cars like the reduction of emissions. Vehicles with autonomous driving features deliver consistent speeds by measuring the distance between origin and destination. 

This leads to a reduction in unnecessary braking and acceleration which greatly reduces the pollution emitted from the car. Self-driving cars are primed to be the solution to reducing accidents in the streets. 

Human errors comprise 90 percent of accidents and with the help of automated driving, this percentage can radically be reduced. Autonomous driving also helps reduce traffic in major cities all over the world. 

There will come a time when commuting will become a lot more convenient with the help of self-driving cars. Traffic and road rage will be a thing of the past as careful artificial intelligence takes over.

How Close Is the Future of Full Autonomous Driving?
Image Source: EE Journal

Startup Companies That Show Promise

While major companies such as Tesla and Google are the frontrunners in the race to produce top quality self-driving cars, other companies also show promise. 

There are a lot of startup companies that are fully capable of challenging these major players when it comes to developing the technology that will allow autonomous driving to become a reality.

Companies like Zoox and Cruise are currently in search of many engineers and designers that will help them shape up the technology. 

San Francisco-based Embark is taking a step further by building self-driving semi-trucks to move freight from one city to another. Pony.ai based in Silicon Valley and Guangzhou, China, is also in the running.  

Conclusion,

The market for self-driving vehicles is bound to grow over the years. It is expected to grow from 54 billion dollars in 2019 to a whopping 556 billion dollars by 2026. 

The advent of such technology will only further innovate how we drive, prevent accidents, and help reduce pollution altogether. Now, the race towards making the best autonomous driving technology is just heating up.

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