Self-driving cars are a step ahead in automobile technology. For those who are completely unaware of what is a self-driving car, it is basically a vehicle that does not require human intervention. They are also known as driverless cars as they are able to combine software and sensors to control, navigate and be driven. Here is all the essential information that you might be eager to know about these autonomous vehicles.
How many layers of autonomy are there?
So, after you have an answer to what is a self-driving car, the next question that automatically comes to mind is that how self-reliant these cars can be. Well, different cars have the potential of different levels of self-driving, as explained below:
- Level 1 is when some particular systems of the car such as automatic braking is controlled by the car, but one at a time only.
- Level 2 is the next level when the number of automated functions performed by the car increases to at least 2.
- Level 3 is the step ahead when the car is well able to manage most of the safety critical functions. This is, however, under certain circumstances.
- Level 4 is the stage where the car can be fully-autonomous in quite a few conditions, yet not all.
- Level 5 is the ultimate stage when the car is fully prepared for self-driving in all scenarios.
How do self-driving cars work?
Over the last few years, various self-driving technologies are being developed by several major automakers, researchers, and technology companies.The design details may somewhat vary but the maintaining of an internal map of the surroundings remain the same. The software basically processes the inputs and accordingly, sends instructions to the actuators of the vehicle. These actuators control the basic functions of driving. The software is advanced enough to navigate obstacles and also, interestingly, follow traffic rules.
What could be the impact?
It is not just enough to know what is a self-driving car but also be aware of its possible impacts. There are quite a few benefits. For instance, even if hypothetically, self-driving cars can be a lot safer because, they are less dependent on humans who are more prone to error than software.
But some significant concerns have also been raised. On the one hand, self-driving technology will certainly help disabled individuals in mobilizing themselves. On the other hand, the adoption of these autonomous vehicles, especially when it happens on a large scale, will take away the jobs of hundreds of people, who are employed as drivers. This, in turn, will also impact the funding of the public transport system. Not to mention, the more the usages, the worse it will be for the environment too.
So, this is precisely everything you need to know about what is a self-driving car, and how it works. When it comes to trying to ride in such a car, it is always advisable to delve deeper into the technology and understand its impact.