Category Archives: Automobile

Autonomous Vehicles

Autonomous Vehicles
By: Vineeta Tawney


-An autonomous vehicle, also known as a robot car, self-driving car, or driverless car, is a vehicle that is able to sense the surrounding environment and movements with little or no human input.

-The autonomous car is a combination of a variety of sensors to sense their surroundings, such as radar, Lidar, sonar, GPS, odometer and inertial measurement units.

-Advanced control systems give sensory information to identify suitable navigation paths, as well as obstacles and similar signs.

Potential benefits:
1.Reduced costs
2.Increased safety
3.Increased customer satisfaction
4.Reduced crime

Safety benefits:
1.A reduction in traffic collisions, resulting in injuries and related costs, including for insurance
2.Automated cars are predicted to increase traffic flow, to provide enhanced mobility for children, the elderly, the disabled, and the poor; relieve travelers from driving and navigation chores
3.Increase the fuel efficiency of the vehicle
4.Significantly reduce needs for parking space
5.Reduce crime
6.Facilitate business models for transportation as a service, especially via the sharing economy

1.Safety (Imagine the safety in controls failure situation for driverless-autonomous car)
2.Liability (Who will be responsible for the major/ minor accidents?)
3.Risk of loss of privacy and security concerns, such as hackers or terrorism; concern about the resulting loss of driving-related jobs in the road transport industry
4.The risk of increased suburbanization as travel becomes more convenient

1.Level 0: Automated system gives warnings but has no complete vehicle control.

2.Level one (“hands-on”): The driver and the automated system both shares control of the vehicle.

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)

The driver controls steering
The automated system controls speed, and Parking Assistance

Result: The steering is automated while speed is under manual control.

3.Level two (“hands-off”): The automated system takes complete control of the vehicle. The driver must monitor the driving and be ready to take immediate control at any time if the automated system fails to respond.

4.Level three (“eyes off”): The driver can concentration other than the driving tasks, e.g. the driver can text or watch a movie. The vehicle will handle situations that require an immediate response, like emergency braking.

5.Level four (“mind off”): As level three, but no driver attention is ever required even in a major emergency, e.g. the driver may safely go to sleep or leave the driver’s seat.

6.Level five (“steering wheel optional”): No human attention is required at all. It would be a robotic taxi.

-Testing vehicles in different phases of automation can be done physically, in closed environments, on public roads or virtually, i.e. in computer simulations. When driven on public roads, automated vehicles need a person to monitor their operation and “take over” when needed.

-The way to examine the progress of automated vehicles is to calculate the average distance driven between “disengagements”(when the automated system is turned off, typically by a human driver).
Kilometer per disengagement
Maker 2016
Distance between disengagements Distance
Waymo 8,252.6 km 1,023,330 km
BMW 1,027 km 1,027 km
Nissan 423.7 km 9,746 km
Ford 316.4 km 950 km
General Motors 88.0 km 13,126 km
Delphi Automotive Systems 24.0 km 4,278 km
Tesla 4.7 km 890 km
Mercedes Benz 3.2 km 1,083 km
Bosch 1.09 km 1,582 km

Potential limits:

1.Technological obstacles for automated cars are:

-Artificial Intelligence is still not capable enough to function properly in chaotic inner-city conditions.
-A car’s computer could possibly compromise safety, depending on a communication system between cars.
-The sensitivity of the car’s sensing and navigation systems to different types of weather.
-Avoidance of large animals needs recognition and tracking, and Volvo found that software suited to caribou, deer, and elk was ineffective with kangaroos.
-Autonomous cars are lacking very high-quality specialized maps to operate properly.
-Competition for the radio spectrum requirement for the car’s communication.
-Field programmability for the systems will need careful evaluation of product development and the component supply chain.
-Current road infrastructure needs improvement for automated cars to function optimally.

2.Social challenges include:

-Government over-regulation, or even uncertainty about potential future regulation, may slow down the deployment of automated cars on the road.

-Employment – Organizations working on technology have an increasing recruitment problem in that the available talent has not grown with demand.

1.Tesla Autopilot:
-In July 2016, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) opened a formal investigation into the fatal accident while the Autopilot was engaged.

-An agency representative said, “It’s worth taking a look and seeing what we can learn from this so that automation is widely introduced and we can do it in the safest way possible.”

-In January 2017, the NTSB released the statement that concluded Tesla was not at fault; the investigation revealed that for Tesla cars, the crash rate dropped by 40 percent after Autopilot was installed.

-Waymo originated as a self-driving car project within Google.

-In July 2015, three Google employees suffered minor injuries when their vehicle was rear-ended by a car whose driver failed to brake at a traffic light. This was the first time that a collision resulted in injuries.

-On 14 February 2016, a Google vehicle attempted to avoid sandbags blocking its path. During the maneuver, it struck a bus.

-Google stated, “In this case, we clearly bear some responsibility because if our car hadn’t moved, there wouldn’t have been a collision”. Google characterized the crash as a misunderstanding and a learning experience.

Major Advantages of the Autonomous vehicles:

1.Safety: Driving safety specialists predicted that once driverless technology is fully developed, traffic collisions, caused by human error, such as delayed reaction time, tailgating, rubbernecking, and other forms of distracted or harsh driving will be reduced.

2.Welfare: Automated cars could reduce labor costs; free travelers from driving and navigation chores, and replacing behind-the-wheel commuting hours with more time for rest or work; and would lift limitations of ability to drive, distracted and texting while driving, prone to breakdown. For the young, the elderly, people with physical weaknesses, and low-income citizens, automated cars could provide relaxation.

3.Traffic: Another advantage can include higher speed limits, smoother rides, and increased roadway capacity, and minimizing traffic congestion, due to a lower need for safety gaps and higher speeds.

Currently, maximum controlled-access highway capacity according to the U.S. Highway Capacity Manual is about 2,200 passenger vehicles per hour per lane, with about 5% of the available road space is taken up by cars. The study predicted that automated cars could increase capacity by 273%.

4.Lower costs: Safer driving is assumed to lower the costs of vehicle insurance.

5.Energy and environmental impacts: Vehicle automation can improve the fuel economy of the car by using the drive cycle. Reduced traffic jam and improve the traffic flow due to the public use of automated cars will change into higher fuel efficiency.