About Autonomous Vehicles
- Autonomous vehicles are mostly light motor vehicles like cars with highest level of automation.
- They can drive without a human driver and thus called self-driving cars.
Basic architecture of Autonomous vehicles: Sense-plan-act architecture
- In order to sense the environment, they use a network of sensors including cameras, radars, infrared, Lidar (light detection and ranging) etc.
- Further a combination of GPS and inertial navigation system is used to know the position of the self-driving car and any object around it. (obstacles)
- Communication systems
- The autonomous cars basically use vehicle to vehicle technology/ vehicle to infrastructure technology to communicate with the objects in the environment like traffic light, parking sign, a railway crossing or other sign boards.
- AI-based data processing
- Once the sensors and other communication systems collects the data, the vehicles use AI-based processing of the data to make sense of it. (perceive the data)
- Once AI-based processing of data is done, the electronic control systems tell the car whether to slow down, speed up, stop etc.
- Actuators are electro-mechanical systems that run the car.
- The decisions of the controllers are translated into actions with the help of actuators.
- The autonomous vehicles are effective in certain driving conditions but fail in many. (Eg. Snow covered roads, heavy traffic roads, narrow roads)
- Infrastructure migration
- Vehicle to infrastructure technology is important for communication with objects like traffic signal, parking lots, sign boards etc.
- As a result the infrastructure in the environment has to be upgraded which is both cost and time intensive.
- The failure of any system in the sense-plan-act architecture may lead to accidents affecting the public safety.
- Self-driving cars are still at the nascent stage and thus has no societal and consumer acceptance
- Legal and regulatory standards
- Before we migrate into autonomous vehicles, stric legal and regulatory standards should be place.
- Designing appropriate legislations is a challenge given the complexity of systems used in these cars.
- Privacy and litigation risks
Section : Science & Tech