Some call it a fad. Some call it the wonders of technology. However you choose to call it, self-driving cars can simply be described as vehicles that were designed to transport people from one location to another without human intervention.
The goal of inventing such automated cars is to create safer roads, reduce street congestion, ensure greater mobility and reduce fuel consumption.
Recently, self-drive cars were making the headlines, and most people couldn’t help but wonder the mystery behind it. Even though they aren’t so much of a novel concept anymore, still; most people ask how do self-drive cars work? Who is making them? And why aren’t they common on the roads yet? This article is meant to provide answers to these questions as well as useful insights into the world of self-drive cars and its future.
How do self-driving cars work?
A driverless car needs several tools and gadgets to reach its destination. It also needs to understand its surrounding, make sound judgments, observe traffic rules and interact with other vehicles on the road. Here are some of the technologically driven tools and gadgets it needs to accomplish all these tasks.
The radar: to sense big and small objects and calculate their distances.
Camera: to see lanes, traffic lights, and road signs.
Artificial intelligence: this is the brain of all self-drive cars. It determines how the car should be maneuvered using camera vision and car sensors.
Lidar: it’s just like the radar, but can see smaller objects more clearly. It’s also very good at mapping 3D objects.
Self-driving Cars Classification
Self-drive cars can be generally classified according to the level of their autonomy and connectivity.
However, self-drive cars have different levels of autonomy. Partial autonomous self-drive cars need a human intervention anytime the system fails or encounters uncertainty. But fully autonomous self-drive vehicles don’t allow such intervention as most do not even have a steering wheel.
When self-drive cars are classified according to connectivity, it indicates the extent to which they can interact or connect with other vehicles and infrastructure on the road.
Do you still need to learn how to drive?
With many companies testing the water on the development of self-drive cars, it is only a matter of time before they flood the market. With so much excitement and news about driverless cars, most people wonder if they still need to learn driving.
Ireland is a good example. When driverless shuttles took to the streets of Dublin last year, people widely debated whether they would need a driving license anymore. However, people will still need taking driving lessons, because it will take the next five to 10 years to go completely autonomous.
Self-drive cars aren’t filling the market yet
When it comes to certain issues of life, people are not quick to change their ways. Transportation is one of them. From the outlook, self-driving may be an expensive venture. Even now that it’s easier to buy and own a vehicle than decades ago, most people still prefer commercial transportation.
For many years to come, there will still be plenty of cars on the road that need full human control. It will be unwise to completely ignore taking pretest driving lessons.
Time is Still Needed
The chances that up to 50% of cars on the road will be completely self-driving is unlikely in the next two decades. Instead, car owners will be able to select between self-driving mode and manual control anytime they want to hit the road. As usual, this requires taking pretest lessons and carrying a driver’s license. It will take many decades before cars will be completely self-driving.
Laws and Regulations
There are several laws and regulations for regular vehicles, but they’re very few, or none for self-drive cars because they are still considered a “fresh invention” and not on the market. Before they can be released on the market to the public, the government will have to do a lot of testing to determine its level of safety compared to manually controlled cars deciding if a license is needed to operate one or not. Creating a regulatory framework is often rigorous and time-taking, as lawmakers carefully weigh the pros and cons if every idea.
Don’t put off the idea of taking driver education courses because you think you will be sitting in a self-driving car next month. Why not get the necessary driver education required and enjoy freedom?