Are You Ready For Self – Driving Cars?

Self – Driving cars can change the face of road traveling.

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Self driving or driver less cars can be the next big thing in the automobile sector. Already several car manufacturers are in the testing phase. And it can actually change the way of transportation in the developing world. Here is a look at who is involved, who is ahead and what possibly lies ahead in the sector.

Self – Driving cars can change the face of road traveling.

Volvo has been involved in testing driverless lorries whereas Google has been in the fray with autonomous cars.

So far, there have been pilot programmes which have been conducted on self – driving cars. The results have been very encouraging. The cars have proved themselves capable of driving alongside cars driven by human drivers. The fact of the matter is, that several cars belonging to the high end segment are even currently equipped with the technology which have been offered as a part of features.

Google has had a head start in this field. It began its work about 8 years ago. There are several automotive manufacturers as well who have jumped into the fray. GM , Volvo, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, Audi, BMW have been working on developing solutions.

There are consortiums which have been running trials in Greenwich, Bristol, Milton Keynes.

What can we expect?

Most automotive manufacturers look to create cars very similar to those we already drive – for individual ownership but with the ability to drive themselves. There are those looking at creating cars that are either smaller and more compact, or larger and laid out without a traditional driver’s seat, turning the car’s cabin into a mobile lounge area.

There is research that has focused on autonomous vehicles replacing traditional buses and public transport shuttles. There are firms, including Uber, that are trying to create vehicles that will eventually replace taxis.

Testing has been going on in Nevada, Florida, California and Michigan since 2012. It has included modified Toyota Priuses, Lexus RX450h SUVs and a bespoke self-driving bubble car.

Uber, on its part, recently began testing a self-driving car in Pittsburgh carrying passengers, with a human driver for backup.

A version of Large-scale testing, including Volvo’s 100-car test with members of the public on a Gothenburg commuter route trial is expected to go ahead in the UK in 2018. The UK is expected to green-light trials on motorways from next year.

Google is currently ahead of others in terms of autonomous miles and data collected.

However, Google, which has partnered Fiat Chrysler, has not made its intentions absolutely clear. It has tried to fit its self-driving technology into the Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivan. However, it may want to develop such cars of its own, given that it has tried to develop a bespoke self-driving car without a steering wheel or pedals.

Volvo, on the other hand, has been on-course as it has been working on self-driving technology for years. However, its efforts have been directed towards safety. It has also looked at the idea of road trains for commercial vehicles.

The technology that is used in the manufacturing of such cars is Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) – which is a rotating laser, generally mounted on the roof, that continually scans the environment around the car.

On the other hand, traditional radar is used for detecting distances to objects and cars. However, the most complex part of a self-driving system is the software that collects the data. The software has to be capable of detecting or differentiating between cars, bikes, people, animals and other objects as well as the road surface. Autonomous vehicles may not be fully adopted atleast for a decade more.

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