A Self-Driving Car: The Autopilot Technology.

BlogMap

Levels of Autopilot .
 How Autopilot Technology works.
Achievers of Autopilot Technology and Models.
   Problems Faced by Autopilot Technology in 2020
 Concept of Self Driving Ecology.

Self Driving Car

The development of technology is a big part of the automobile industry. If you are from the 90s, there is a great chance that you are familiar to science friction concepts of self driving cars or as the technology is known, ‘AutoPilot’. Well good news for you, they are not science friction any more. They are a reality today, which serves as a big ground for the big shot car manufacturers on the planet and right now the Usain Bolt on this ground is Elon Musk’s ‘Tesla’.

Automatic CAR

So let’s discuss everything that we know about the Autopilot technology within 5 minutes and see where this technology stands today and its future aspects.

Levels of Self Driving or Auto Pilot Technology:

Self Driven Car.

Self Driving Technology can be catagorized into 5 levels, the 5th being the best form of this technology.

Level I: This level of self driving is the most basic. It deals either with automatic brake or automatic steering with manual steering or manual brake respectively.

Level II: This level deals with both, automatic steering and brakes. But only for a straight road, with no forced diversion of road and have to feed lane change commands and traffic signal by the driver. This stage requires continuous driver supervision.          

Level III: Can function most of the time by its own in diversions, lane changes or traffic signals, but with low accuracy, the driver needs to keep an eye on its actions, but less than that of level II.

Level IV: High Automation. Can drive all by its own and all functions are automatic, but in some situations, the driver needs to take control.

Level V:  Full Automation. ‘Class A’ Smart cars, no instruction to be fed, no supervision required, and yeah, no steering either,   just sit back, relax and do your thing till you get to your destination.

So, which level did we reach?

Somewhere between 2 and 3, and with the speed with which researchers and scientists are working, we are about to reach level III soon.

Auto Pailot

How the Auto Pilot Works

In very simple words, the whole process of automatic driving can be explained by three lines:

  • The car takes input from its surrounding, senses where the other cars are and at what speed.
  • This information is fed to a ‘computer’, that computes the action the car should take and the speed it should run on to avoid collision.
  • This information is fed to the car’s steering, accelerator or brakes instantly.

Now the big question is ” How input is taken from the surrounding?

Self Driven Car

The accuracy, safety and the quality of the self driving technology is dependent upon how well it takes the input from the surrounding. If we think deep enough, this is the most important factor of this technology. The better the capability of taking inputs from the surrounding, the better is the car.

To understand this, we will take the reference of a Tesla, as they have the most integrated self driving technology of all the self driving technologies.

For taking inputs from the surrounding, they use three (3) hardware models

i)Cameras: The Tesla uses 8 cameras

3 front cameras: One for a wide and short range when the car is driving slow.

                  One for a main and medium range when the car is in moderate speed.

                  One for a narrow  and far range when the car is driving fast.       

 2 Cameras for blind spots: 2 cameras are placed on both sides of the car at an angle of 45 degrees facing rear for the blind spots.

2 Cameras for oncoming traffic: 2 Cameras are placed on both sides of the car at 135 degrees, facing the front to keep track of oncoming traffic, especially during turns.

1 Rear Camera: While used for parking purpose, it is mainly used to keep track of rear traffic on the roads.

ii) Ultrasonic Sensors: 

  • These are essential for sensing near cars, or passing through tight spaces.
  • They have very short range.
  • 12 Ultrasonic Sensors are places all over the car to sense every side and avoid collision.
  • They are the main sensors for defensive purpose.
Auto Driven Car

iii) 1 Front Radar: 

  • This is the most powerful sensor included in the car as it is the main sensor when the car moves forward , its range is up to several hundred meters.
  • It is responsible for lane sensing and cars at a distance.
  • It also has the capability to see through rain or snow and responsible for safe drive in these situation.       
Self Driving Car

Achievers Of Auto Pilot Technology and Models:

Tesla :   Model 3, Model S, Model X

Tesla Automatic Car

Hyundai: Palisade, Saonata

Hyundai Automatic Car

Audi: A6, A8

Audi Automatic Car

BMW: X5, 3 Series.

BMW Automatic Car

Mercedes Benz: E Class, S Class

Mercedes Automatic Car

Nissan: Leaf, Rogue

Nisaan Automatic Car

Volvo: XC90, XC60, XC40

Volvo Automatic Car

There Are Other Brands Also, Like

Infiniti: QX50, Cadillac: CT6, Kia: Telluride

Problems faced by the Auto Pilot Technologyin 2020:

Weather:  While the Radar is a handy hardware for the rainy or snowy days, but they can have reduced accuracy due to harsh weather conditions and face sudden fails. With that I would like to mention the probability is very low but not nil.

Roads:  When we drive a manual car, we generally go easy and slow on pot holes. Auto Pilot adjusts its speed depending on the traffic situations, but do not sense pot holes and hence the passengers go through a rough experience.     

Forced Diversion:  As we are on Level II autopilot, the car do not sense forced diversion for example a diversion due to road renovation.

Lanes:  Level II cars have to be fed with instructions for lane change on the right or left.  

Traffic signals:  Universally, level II autopilot cannot sense or understand traffic lights and manual road signs. But while I am writing this blog, Tesla has updated its level II auto pilot to understand traffic signals like red or green lights but this update has been released for its final testing purpose mostly, but Tesla can release the final update for all its customers very soon, if you are reading this in late 2020s or after that, there is a huge chance that they have already released this update.  

Miscellaneous:  The complete autopilot technology depends on input taken and computation. There are some cases where the input taken from the surrounding was not that accurate for an unknown reason hence the computation of the car’s action almost resulted in collision.  But again, I have to mention, there is a very low chance for that to happen.    

Concept Of Self Driving Ecology:

If you have reached this, we will give you a mind blowing glimpse of the future of auto pilot to thank you.

Earlier we have told you about level V auto pilot, the phase of advancement which does not need any steering wheel. So, what’s the plan? The plan is to make fully automated ‘Smart Cars’ that can understand you, understand what you say, from the destination you want to go to the temperature you want inside the car, but this is not the crazy part.

Smart Car

These level V cars can communicate with each other. When on the streets, your car can communicate with all the other cars around it to maintain safe distance and synchronism which will be the key to reduce accidents to a huge number and may be even to nil.

The cars will be designed to communicate with each other with binary codes ‘1s’ and ‘0s’ using a transmitter and receiver in all the cars. So if you wan to go somewhere, you get in your car, select the destination or a string of destinations you want to go to, voice search your favourite music, set the temperature to your desired, sit back and relax.

And, I almost forgot that they will also have the capabillity to self park and  drive to a charging station all by itself so that the only headache you have is to buy a piece of this technology.

Automatic Parking.

After The Self Driving Car, You Must See How Electric Car Works.
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