Autonomous vehicles are coming. The technology is already here, and the self-driving vehicles that we’ve been seeing on the road are only a taste of what’s to come. Autonomous vehicle technology will be more than just cars; it could include buses, taxis, trucks and even drones in the future. Autonomous vehicles have been around for some time now, but they’ve been slow to hit mainstream markets because of concerns about safety—and rightly so: A number of accidents involving autonomous vehicles have occurred over the years. Fortunately, these incidents haven’t been widespread enough to deter manufacturers from investing in this technology or consumers from welcoming its arrival with open arms; when they do arrive at dealerships near you (or your doorstep), however, there are some things you should know about how they work before jumping into one yourself…
Self-driving cars operate in many ways like a human driver
Self-driving cars operate in many ways like a human driver. They have sensors that can see in all directions, including behind the vehicle. These sensors detect obstacles and other vehicles, lane markings, traffic lights and signs, pedestrians on the street or sidewalk, other road users’ intentions (for example if another car is going to pass you). Self-driving cars also use GPS data from satellites to determine their location on Earth’s surface.
The technology used in self-driving vehicles is similar to that used in autopilot systems
Self-driving vehicles use a variety of sensors, cameras and radar to detect their surroundings. The technology used in self-driving vehicles is similar to that used in autopilot systems, but it’s more sophisticated.
The sensors include:
- LIDAR (light detection and ranging) – uses a laser to measure range and intensity of objects around it by sending out pulses of light then measuring how long they take to bounce back
- RADAR (radio detection and ranging) – sends radio waves that bounce off objects around it and return with information about their distance from the vehicle or object
- IMU (inertial measurement unit) – measures acceleration through gyroscopes that detect rotation around three axes; accelerometers that detect changes in velocity over time; tilt sensors for detecting angle relative to gravity
Self-driving vehicles have been on the road for some time
The first self-driving vehicles were built in the 1930s, but it wasn’t until 2009 that Google began testing them on public roads. Uber followed suit in 2015 and Tesla in 2014. In 2017, Volvo announced plans to test its own autonomous cars on the streets of Gothenburg, Sweden; while Waymo has been testing its self-driving technology since 2009.
Autonomous vehicle technology is constantly improving
Autonomous vehicle technology is constantly improving. The cost of the technology is coming down, and it’s getting more reliable, accurate, and better at predicting what other road users will do.
Autonomous vehicles are still in their infancy but they’re already making a big difference to people’s lives by helping them get around more easily than ever before.
Tesla has started building its own software for autonomous vehicles
Tesla has been building its own self-driving software for years. The company has had a chip in development for some time and plans to use it in its own autonomous vehicles. The chip is designed to be used by other manufacturers in their vehicles as well, which means that Tesla could be looking for another revenue stream outside of selling cars.
Uber and Lyft are involved in developing autonomous vehicles.
Uber and Lyft are involved in developing autonomous vehicles. Uber is testing self-driving cars in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, while Lyft has partnered with General Motors to develop an on-demand network of self-driving cars.
Autonomous vehicles are likely to be on the market within the next few years.
The technology is there, but the legal issues are still being worked out. Some states have already passed laws allowing autonomous vehicles to be on the road and others are working on it. In California and Arizona, for example, companies can test their self-driving car technology without a safety driver behind the wheel–as long as they obtain a special permit from state regulators and comply with other requirements.
In other places like New York City or Washington D.C., however, companies are still waiting for approval before they can test these vehicles in real world conditions
Autonomous vehicles are on the road and ready for use today. The technology used in self-driving vehicles is similar to that used in autopilot systems, and these vehicles have been tested extensively over the past few years. Autonomous vehicle technology is constantly improving as well; Tesla has started building its own software for autonomous vehicles while Uber and Lyft are involved in developing this type of car as well.