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Self-Driving Car Technology: How Does It Work?

With the technology today, the dream of having flying automobiles or self-driving cars can become reality. In fact, self-driving vehicles have become a famous subject of discussion for drivers these days. In other words, automatic driving cars can actually become the biggest revolution, not only to the automotive industry but to the whole history of mankind since the industrial revolution. Without a doubt, all scientists and drivers want it to happen. 

Recent years, we have heard various rumors. From Uber and Lyft driverless vehicles to self-driving vehicles of the Apple. And in order to have the first autonomous cars roaming outside the street, we might need to wait more. In the meantime, are you interested in the technology of self-driving cars? We will help you answer the hardest question: How does it work? 

Understanding Self-Driving Cars

The Definition of Self-Driving Cars

In order to provide the safety for drivers, car designers created ADAS (also known as Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems). This addition has steering assistance,automatic braking as well as pre-collision warnings. However, that is not enough. With the technology development, the automotive industry brings the safety to the next level: Cars can drive without the appearance of a driver. 

Self-Driving Car Technology

In order for a car to self-driving, we need many technologies to go along with it. From radar, ultrasound, radio antennas to cameras, we require them all to navigate safely on the street.

In modern autonomous cars, these car components combine and work together to make the whole system more robust and reliable.  

Autopilot, one of the latest technologies of Tesla, has a total of 8 cameras. They give owners 360-degree visibility, along with a front radar and twelve ultrasonic sensors with the purpose of analyzing the surroundings of the car for potential dangers. 

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In the future, we might not even need to be inside the car to drive it (Photo Source: Pexels)

However, the real heart of the reliability of this autonomous system is the 5G cellular networks. Technically, it is similar to the 4G LTE connections that we are all familiar with. This 5G is the type of mobile broadband which allows one device to connect with another wirelessly, and much faster.

With the peak performance of 5G, it can be 1,000% faster than 4G LTE. And when this is equipped on autonomous vehicles, car owners can communicate with other cars effortlessly.  

So how can they communicate? Let’s find out.

The Interactions of Self-Driving Car

Car to Car

As we mentioned above, self-driving cars can communicate with each other thanks to the 5G. This is one of the most crucial advantages of this technology. To be more precise, it allows cars to exchange information about their route, position as well as dangers on the road. If one car detects an issue on the road, it could inform the other to avoid or adjust its route. 

Thanks to the network of interconnected cars, the traffic can be smooth and easy since cars can make smart decisions in order to maintain the flow of traffic. 

Car to Human 

This is the interaction we are looking for, vehicles to pedestrians. In fact, this is by far the most crucial interaction. 

We must all acknowledge the fact that our own devices like smartphones can track our GPS. This is thanks to the 4G or wifi network that turned on constantly from our mobile phones. With this, we can track the exact location of the user. And this technology is also the key component in the working mechanism of self-driving cars when it encounters a pedestrian. The 5G network will inform the cars about the pedestrians around it at all times. And thanks to that, the car can react quickly and dynamically to the incoming pedestrians by braking and steering.

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Everyday in the U.S, there are 15 death cases caused by motorized vehicles. Hopefully, the technology of autonomous cars may be able to reduce these numbers in the future. 

Car to In Infrastructure

So what will happen when self-driving cars interact with or near infrastructure? Also thanks to the network of 5G, they can also communicate with various infrastructure elements. 

The original idea is when someone asks: How will the self-driving cars know how and where to park? Since autonomous cars move continuously, it is imperative that they are able to calculate the route to maintain the efficiency. To be more specific, the network will provide information about the parking spaces available, then transmitted to a self-driving car through sensors. Once the car receives this information, it will automatically reserve the space over the network cloud. Thanks for this, no car will come and fight for that spot again.    

Each Level of Self-Driving Cars

In fact, we can see these features dividing to various levels.

With level 0, the system of the car will have no control at all, however, it reminds car owners with incoming danger. 

When you set on level 1, both the system and drivers will control the car together. Just like car owners with the ADAS.

In level 2, the car system has the ability to take full control of the car. Nevertheless, if the system cannot spot a potential threat, car owners must be ready to intervene. 

When the system is in level 3, car owners still need to be there to check if there is any incoming issue, yet it is much safer than level 2.   

With level 4, drivers do not need to keep their attention on the driving tasks anymore and let the system take full control. 

And with the last level, also known as level 5, there is no human intervention.   

Accepting Autonomy of Self-Driving Cars

While facing something new and unfamiliar, humans tend to be afraid, and the same story with self-driving vehicles. However, there are many things in our world that have automated systems, which makes our lives safer, easier as well as enjoyable. We all know or go on an airplane, and the majority of the flight is working by the autopilot system.

Another example is the famous Amazon. This is, without a doubt, one of the most beloved online retailers of the United States, with over 100,000 robotic systems. And many of them are autonomous. 

The Benefits of Self-Driving Cars

The Ability to Solve Traffic Issues

One of the most advantages of self-driving cars is the ability to solve all issues. Traffic delays, solved. Traffic collisions, solved. Driver error, also solved. However, that is just the icetip. 

Energy Saving

Without a doubt, we all want cars with fuel efficiency. In the U.S, we are all concerned about fuel consumption since the price of gas is more expensive over time. And without a doubt, this price greatly affects both private car users and businesses. However, everything changes with driverless vehicles.

To be more specific, the system will easily track, measure, and control the consumption of fuel. In other words, this system can save money for car owners year after year. 

Raise in Productivity

Raising in productivity is one of the benefits of driverless cars. Since we do not have to worry about traffic congestion as well as spending time holding the wheel, car owners can do a lot of other things. For those who are working, the self-driving cars let us read, workout or even sleep while we are traveling. 

Decreasing in Infrastructure Spending

The next benefit of self-driving cars is the reduction of infrastructure spending. With the population growth, it is understandable that the number of cars on the road rises. And therefore, we need more infrastructure upgrades. The aim for this is to grow the capacity of the highways, streets as well as freeways to fit the needs. However, this process is circular. To be more specific, when the population has grown even bigger, additional upgrades will likely need to occur. And believe us, that is going to happen in just a short few years. 

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Tesla is one of the heads of the self-driving technology (Photo Source: Pexels)

With self-driving cars, not only can we reduce traffic congestion, there will also be less of a need for spending money on infrastructure upgrades. The traffic will be able to handle itself.

Shipping and Delivery

Shipping and deliveries is definitely the must in our life, especially with the appearance of COVID. And self-driving cars can cover this aspect for us. To be more specific, shipping companies do not need to rely on human labor when it comes to moving and shipping products from one place to another.

As cherry on top, the shipping schedule can be boosted. The shipping trailers do not need to stop for hunger, fatigue, personal issues, and this decreases the shipping times a lot.  

Public Transportation

As for people who use public transportation, the self-driving car technology is their life-changing experience. It opened many options for public vehicles, since everyone’s autonomous car could be used for shuttling commuters from one place to the following.

Thanks to the driverless car integration in our transportation system, commuters have access to a near limitless number of commuting options at their disposal. Along with that, car owners have access to a whole new stream of revenue.

Emergency Transportation

Yes, the emergency is also another benefit of self-driving car technology. Normally, we will have a lot of issues and traffic congestion on the way to the patient. However, with all of them eliminated from the road, emergency car owners can reach the destinations way faster. Thanks to the implementation of self-driving cars, patients can be treated and receive medical care much quicker than before.   

Self-Driving Car Applications

Autonomous automobiles open a whole new selection of all new and exciting car applications, as well as an option for a variety of industries. For example, there is news for transportation, emergency transportation or shipping. 

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