Imagine having a car which will drive you home after your hassle office hours without driving it. Yes, it’s true and all the companies are now coming up with the concept of autonomous vehicles i.e. driverless cars. Autonomous vehicles are vehicles that are capable of sensing the environment and drive you to your destination without being driving it yourself. You just need to start the vehicle and set your desired destination and you will reach your destination on time safe and sound.
The first self-sufficient autonomous vehicle came up in 1980 and a major milestone was covered in 1995 where a car covered nearly 1800 miles in the United States of which 95% was autonomous. Presently Tesla and google came up with more efficient autonomous vehicles and google have autonomous vehicles currently running inside google office. Now coming to the working of an autonomous vehicle.
Autonomous Vehicles generally consist of a few types of equipment which are listed below
1. Anti-braking systems (ABS).
2. Electronic stability controls.
3. Cruise control.
6. Wheel encoder.
7. Lane detector.
8. Stereo mounted cameras.
9. Infrared cameras.
ABS, Electronic stability controls and Cruise controls are found in today’s vehicles as well. ABS is nothing but it helps in anti-locking of the disc brake of a vehicle thus not allowing the vehicle to slip on wet roads. Electronic stability controls help to stabilize the vehicles in zig zag roads thus helping the vehicle to turn around easily. Cruise controls are usually used in highways and are used to set the car at a particular speed and the vehicle will run accordingly without accelerating it. These are mainly for highways and you can control the vehicle anytime when you want.
Now coming to the RADAR system. RADAR is radio detection and ranging which helps to cover the car’s blind spot thus making it safer as compared to self-driven cars. LIDAR is light detection and ranging which is mounted n the roof of the car. It consists of LASER lights which cover the 360 degrees of the car, thus detecting each and everything around the car with an accuracy of 2 cm. Wheel encoder is an electromagnetic device which helps the wheels to move at certain degrees thus helping the car to turn accordingly and move in the desired direction.
Lane detectors are used to help the car move on a particular lane on the basic principle of contrast. The white strips on black roads are detected by these lane detectors, thus keeping the car in the proper lane. Stereo mounted cameras are mounted on the windshield of the cars which makes the real-time 3-D image of the obstacle coming in front of the car. Infrared cameras are mounted on the headlamps of the car which uses the heat of an object (as everybody has heat inside it) and converts it into an electronic signal, making it possible to sense the obstacles even at night, thus making the car safer.
GPS (global positioning system) system or say maps is used to direct the car to your desired destination. Now, tests are being done to make cars 100% autonomous but the problem they face is autonomous vehicle are costly and not everyone can afford to buy it. The second problem is we cannot rely on these in adverse weather conditions. For now, we have to wait for which company, first comes up with a fully automated car and at what price, further how would the market will react to it.