An autonomous vehicle is a car capable of moving without the need for human intervention.
In other words, a vehicle designed to circulate without the need for human action to intervene in the driving process, as is usual.
Autonomous Vehicle Features
To achieve automation, it is necessary to implement hardware and software that allow the vehicle to detect its environment.
In terms of hardware, these vehicles have sensors, cameras, computers and remote assistance operators, for example. These teams detect objects around the vehicle with laser technology, radio waves, among others.
On the other hand, at the software level, artificial intelligence (AI) and navigation systems such as GPS are used. This, in order for the car to recognize traffic signs, for example, in addition to being able to solve viable problems.
Autonomous vehicle: autonomy levels
The Society of Automotive Engineers classifies these vehicles according to their level of automation as follows:
- Level 0: They are strictly human controlled vehicles.
- Level 1: This category includes vehicles with driver assistance systems such as emergency braking. Another example is the cruise control, which can be programmed to accelerate or brake according to the driver's requirement. In this case, it is one function at a time.
- Level 2: At this level, the vehicle can use different driver assistance functions. Also, advanced assistance systems are used such as pedestrian detection, traffic sign recognition, blind spot detection, among others. The driver can take control of the vehicle whenever he wants or requires it.
- Level 3: At this point the car is driven without the need for human participation thanks to environmental detection systems. However, the driver is required to remain alert and with his hands on the wheel to take control when needed.
- Level 4: The vehicle is fully autonomous in predefined situations and environments, for example in a specific city. In this case, they are also expected to solve driving problems and system faults. However, there is still the option for a driver to intervene.
- Level 5: Finally, at this level the car does not require steering wheels or pedals, since it is completely autonomous for each situation. This indicates that they can travel anywhere and do any activity capable of an experienced human driver.
Advantages and disadvantages of the autonomous vehicle
Some advantages of autonomous vehicles are:
- Reduce accidents: Most traffic accidents are caused by human error. Therefore, these vehicles are intended to reduce accidents caused by inexperienced drivers.
- Less traffic: With better navigation systems, these cars would reduce the level of traffic in cities.
- Use of time: While the vehicle is in charge of driving, passengers can dedicate themselves to other activities. Therefore, it also offers a more convenient solution.
On the other hand, some of the disadvantages of these cars are the following:
- Extraordinary situations: An important criticism is that the navigation system can only react to pre-programmed situations. Meanwhile, humans can use common sense to make decisions quickly.
- Loss of privacy: Since real-time network connection is required, providers will know the exact location of people. That is, past, present and future browsing information will be available to third parties at all times.
- Computer attacks: The risk of someone hacking into the vehicle's system will always be present.
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