Ever since the announcement, a self-driving car has made its buzz all over the world. A world where self-driving cars are the norm has turned into reality. Self-driving cars are gaining a powerful ally. The craze of self-driving cars among buyers has dynamically increased. Although, the car is still in the trial stage. The car manufacturers like Tesla, Nissan, Mercedes, Uber, and Google’s Waymo are competing to develop the first fully autonomous self-driving cars.
Imagine going for a long drive, relaxing in the car, doing office work while sipping coffee with soothing music in the background. Sounds interesting right? But this is way too risky if you have to manually navigate your car. This scenario is just an example of the perks of having a self-driving car, there are more on the way.
Will Self-driving Cars Reduce Accidents And Improve Safety?
Vehicles have evolved since the beginning. Fully automated cars are not developed overnight. From driver assistance to full automation, vehicles have evolved step by step.
Now the question arises “ are self-driving cars safe?”. If we look at the recent report of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 90% of car accidents happen because of driver’s mistakes. Then what should we do? Make the car driver free? Yes, that is what self-driving cars do.
Let us go in deep and examine more on this topic.
Self-driving car algorithm
Self-driving cars use supervised and unsupervised machine learning algorithms. The main tasks on which the car focuses are detection of an object, identification of an object, object localization, and prediction of movement. Bayesian regression is used for localization and actuation. Object filtration is done by categorizing the irrelevant data points. Low-resolution images or not-so-clear objects can be an issue. So for this clustering method such as K-means, a Multiclass Neural network is used. When it comes to decision-making situations like, whether the car has to take a right or left turn, it needs to accelerate or brake, analyzing the relationship between sets of values and information is important. And for such scenarios, decision matrix algorithms are used. The main task of the machine learning algorithm in the self-driving car is a continuous rendering of the surroundings and confidently predicting the possible changes to that surrounding.
Technology and policy
Self-driving cars are likely to create a better driving environment on roads. The high-tech vision system in self-driving cars has the ability to outperform humans in detecting dangerous situations. To replace human tasks such as perceive, think, and act, self-driving cars are embedded with cameras, computers, and controllers. Let us do a comparison between human drivers and self-driving cars. Eyes and ears are replaced with cameras, LIDAR, and Radar; a computer does the work of the brain; and hands, feet are control electronics.
Cameras are installed on the different parts of the car for 360-degree vision. LIDAR is a high-tech sensor, used for locating and discriminating surrounding objects. Altogether the camera, LIDAR, and Radar perceive the “brain” of the car.
With the decision-making algorithm, the car’s computer sends the electronic commands to controllers that control the steering wheel and take immediate action.
Change in judgment
The lack of human judgment in certain situations leads to the accident. Sometimes a driver is frustrated, distracted, or drunk, in such a case, it may be possible that the driver can take the wrong road where it should not be. Unlike human’s absence of mind, self-driving cars operate at their maximum ability. The artificial intelligence in the self-driving car makes it prominent to make decisions.
Letting the car “take the wheel” can be a scary thought.
One of the recent news illustrated the death of a Tesla driver when his car crashed with the turning truck. The report said that the car with partial self-driving features could not recognize the turning truck as an obstacle. This depicts that technology is yet to develop for fully autonomous driving. This is one of the reasons some are skeptical about self-driving cars.
Below mentioned points are some of the barriers to an autonomous vehicle:-
Many factors have to be taken into consideration when it comes to law. Drivers are responsible for driving and the actions they are causing. But self-driving cars do not require drivers then who will be responsible for the cause? Autonomous vehicles are not illegal but they are not explicitly authorized.
Though the self-driving car has excelled in decision making, there still is a probability it can go wrong when it comes to ethics. No one has the answer if the car has to face an impossible situation, what will it do! No one knows how a fully autonomous car will approach the trolley problem.
Self-driving cars face challenges when it comes to navigating in snowy or rainy conditions. LIDAR does not always accurately sense the weather. It may lead to problems with the car’s sensors. During rainy conditions, a vehicle needs to adjust its driving capabilities according to the roads.
Self-driving cars: Making Our World Better
Technology always focuses on making the world a better place. Let us look at some of the benefits of self-driving cars.
94% of crashes occur due to human error. With fully automated vehicles the chances of traffic death will reduce. Reduction in accidents means a drop in harmful emissions. Also, the transport interconnectivity will improve. Apart from increasing the safety, it reduces the secondary costs too.
Bearable daily commute
Self-driving cars improve the daily commute. The autonomous vehicle will reduce the traffic pressure. With the self-driving car, you can stretch in the back seat and relax and let your autonomous car handle the traffic. Also, if you are getting late for reaching your destination, the self-driving car will speedily and safely drop you at your place.
Easing parking woes
Drivers sometimes end up parking wrong. Due to one wrong parking, others have to face the issue. Especially, in congested places parking is needed to be done rightly. With self-driving cars, we can hope for improvement in the parking issues. Also, if the parking place is not available, the driverless vehicle can drop off the passenger and leave.
Productivity and relaxation
A self-driving car sets us free and allows us to relax. We can travel for a longer distance without getting tired. Also, while the car is driving by itself, we can focus on our other necessary tasks. A self-driving car is not just a car. It is a place where we can work, sleep, and chill.
Self-driving cars should not be feared, but rather be celebrated. The electric autonomous vehicle, without any doubt, will drive more efficiently than humans. These cars are not only beneficial to humans but also to the environment. The electric vehicle will result in a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Everything has its positive and negative effects, this is the case with self-driving cars too. Though autonomous vehicles will never be perfect, the technology on them will surely make driving much safer for drivers and pedestrians.
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