Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) are cars capable of driving themselves autonomously without human assistance and will have profound impacts on society as a whole.
Automated cars promise to transform our industry and enhance our lives in many ways, but they also present several challenges. Chief among them will be cost; another issue will be extensive public safety regulations to ensure safe use.
Designing and creating a vehicle capable of handling traffic isn't enough; it must also understand its environment - the road, other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and wildlife alike. Furthermore, sensors must interpret their collected data accurately in order to allow a quick response time from its sensors.
There's much research underway into making these technologies work in concert. For instance, radar and Lidar sensors work by reflecting pulses of light off of roads to help a car map its surroundings; software then takes this data and plots its course, sending commands directly to its actuators that control acceleration, braking and steering.
Sensors within the vehicle gather data about weather conditions, speed limits and road-markings; this data is then processed by complex algorithms and predictive modeling software for use in traffic navigation software applications.
Automated vehicles must make instantaneous decisions about whether to avoid or try to navigate an obstacle, which requires AI systems to determine what's best for everyone on the road - even if this means making choices which might be inconvenient or unwelcome for some drivers.
Self-driving car technology continues to advance, yet fully autonomous cars will take some time before reaching the market. Meanwhile, autonomous vehicles (AVs) are currently being tested on public roads.
Autonomous cars have the power to reduce traffic congestion, saving both cities and consumers both time and money through reduced accidents. A study published in PLoS One by researchers from the University of Illinois discovered that autonomous cars travelling at constant pace can smooth out traffic flow by eliminating stop-and-go conditions known as "phantom traffic jams."
Fuel economy can also reap the rewards of autonomous vehicles (AVs). According to research by Rand Corporation, they can increase fuel efficiency by 4-10 percent by more smoothly accelerating and decelerating than human drivers; this in turn allows for shorter travel times by lowering peak speeds allowing more efficient travel over longer distances.
Car owners could also benefit financially, as AVs could save them both time and money spent parking or maintaining their cars. Some experts predict AVs could pay for themselves in fuel savings within a few years.
AVs can also help protect the lives of those with disabilities. People with severe visual, hearing or mobility impairments will no longer risk dying in car accidents due to lack of protection.