Self Driving Cars: Autonomous Driving Technology
An autonomous car (Self Driving Cars) is a vehicle that can guide itself without human conduction. Nevertheless, these vehicles have become a concrete reality. They may pave the way for future systems where computers take over the art of driving. An autonomous car also has several other names such as a driverless car, robot car, and self-driving cars.
A car based on Autonomous Driving Technology (self-driving cars) is a vehicle. However, it is not like the ordinary vehicle we used to see on the roads. It is a driverless vehicle. Yes, a driverless vehicle which can self-operate and direct itself on the roads without any human intervention. This seems to be the story of science fiction. However, now, it has become reality. New advancements are making these cars more sophisticated and autonomous with time. Moreover, we believe computers will take over the art of driving in future.
History of Self Driving Cars / Autonomous Driving Technology
There are two main types of self-driving cars: the autonomous and automated. The main difference is its capacity for controlling and the self driving ability. It is really a sense of excitement to sit in a car which drives itself. Imagine, you don’t need to do anything, just sit back while talking to your beloved or working on the laptop. But do we really know how far we have accomplished in the autonomous driving technology? Moreover, what is about to come in the future? Below we have a timeline. It represents all of our achievements so far in this area.
This impossible dream was first introduced in the year 1920 with the Houdini Radio controlled car. This radio controlled car was first seen on the roads, in the traffic jams of New York City. Basically, in this technology, the car was controlled by analyzing the preceding car on the road. The methodology was quite simple, the car was receiving radio signals from the antenna and these radio signals were then sent to the circuit-breakers and small electric motors, which were controlling the car movements.
Before 1980, there were some more advancements in the field of driverless cars. However, the most significant era was 1980. In this era, this dream somehow materialized in a sophisticated way. Mercedes tested a vision-guided robotic-van on the roads with speed of 39 mph. From 1987 to 1995 EUREKA initiated its first project called Prometheus Project in this field. Many scientific Research Centers including the University of Maryland carried out a project called ALV or Autonomous Land Vehicle which used the computer vision and autonomous robotic control. The resultant car of this project achieved the speed of 19 mph.
The Carnegie Mellon University achieved a significant milestone in the year 1989. They displayed the use of neural networks which were steering and controlling the autonomous vehicles.
You may also like: The Future Of Conscious Robots
Scientists were developing and testing technologies and vehicles throughout the year 1990 to develop more autonomous, faster and safe cars. However, ARGO project was a big achievement in this area. ARGO used a modified Lancia Thema to follow the normal motorway’s lane markings.
Ford, Google, and Nissan:
After 2008, we saw major achievements in this area. Ford introduced a gadget for self-parking system in 2009. Google has been working on driverless cars since 2010. In 2012, Google tested their first self-driving car to transport a blind man. Google predicted that their autonomous driving technology will be available to the public in the next five years. By 2013, the driverless cars of Google traveled over 500,000 miles. Similarly, Nissan and Mercedes also claimed that their driverless cars will be commercialized by 2020.
Tesla was the first company to break the ice and commercialize its model S. The model S of Tesla was 92% driverless which was the biggest milestone so far in this area. During driving the driver needs to keep hands on steering in case the car can’t handle the problem on its own.
So, what are your predictions? Can you see any advancements in this area? The Royal Academy of Engineering in Europe predicted that their driverless cars will be traveling through the traffic of United Kingdom by 2019. Tesla is the most ambitious in this area and claimed that their 100% driverless cars will be commercialized and used on the roads within two years.
Companies Working on Autonomous Driving Technology
There are many companies and startups working on driverless cars. However, we have selected the few and most prominent among them to include in our list
- Ford: Ford seems to be the leader and most prominent company to work on driverless cars. It gained a score of 85 out of 100 according to Navigant Research.
- General Motors: GM invested $500 million in Jan 2016 in order to create a self-driving vehicle. On Navigant research, it has a score of 84.8 out of 100.
- Renault-Nissan Alliance: The ProPILOT feature of driverless cars introduced by this company will allow vehicles to drive autonomously on the roads in Japan. The Navigant Score of this company is 82 out of 100.
- Daimler: The company got 77.7 out of 100 in Navigant Research.
- Google Waymo: The Google’s Waymo Technology is using the software which has an ability to detect everything traveling on roads like cyclists, pedestrians, and other cars. It can not detect only things but their behavior as well
- Apple: Apple is secretly working on the driverless cars and it is being predicted that Apple cars will be the most sophisticated cars adopting this technology. Apple is using LiDAR Technology for its autonomous driving technology.