How a Car Drives It­self

Arabnet - The Quarterly - - Content -

So how do AVS work? They fol­low a “sense-plan-act” ap­proach. A suite of sen­sors, cam­eras and radars are in charge of guid­ing the ve­hi­cle and gath­er­ing data from its en­vi­ron­ment. This data is then in­ter­preted by soft­ware al­go­rithms stored on the ve­hi­cle’s main com­puter. Fi­nally, the data is con­verted into com­mands for ve­hi­cle steer­ing, throt­tle and brakes.

There is much more to au­ton­o­mous sys­tems than meets the eye. AV sys­tems rely heav­ily on ar­ti­fi­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and ma­chine learn­ing to make in­formed de­ci­sions and difffff­fer­en­ti­ate sur­round­ings. Ma­chine learn­ing al­go­rithms em­ployed are based on ob­ject track­ing and so­phis­ti­cated pat­tern recog­ni­tion al­go­rithms are de­signed to im­prove the accuracy of dis­tin­guish­ing be­tween

ob­jects, for ex­am­ple, whether an ob­ject is an­other ve­hi­cle, pedes­trian, bi­cy­cle, or even an an­i­mal. AV sys­tems are con­stantly an­a­lyz­ing the en­vi­ron­ment and feed­ing per­ceived images into the al­go­rithm. The images are ex­am­ined and then the na­ture of the ob­jects is clas­si­fied. Th­ese al­go­rithms al­low the ve­hi­cle to “learn” ob­ject char­ac­ter­is­tics such as move­ment, size and shape in or­der to clas­sify fu­ture images with higher accuracy.

In re­cent years, au­tomak­ers have barely touched the sur­face of con­nec­tive technology, fo­cus­ing on the de­vel­op­ment of Hu­man Ma­chine In­ter­face (HMI), which is mainly made up of Ad­vanced Driver As­sis­tance Sys­tems (ADAS) and in­fo­tain­ment sys­tems. ADAS pro­vides driv­ers with safety as­sis­tance technology, in­clud­ing fea­tures such as blind spot de­tec­tion, lane as­sist, ac­tive cruise control, and col­li­sion warn­ing and ac­tive park as­sis­tance. In­fo­tain­ment sys­tems, on the other hand, pro­vide driv­ers with driv­ing en­ter­tain­ment through smart­phone con­nec­tiv­ity and user-friendly touch­screen in­ter­faces. The fu­ture of con­nected car technology, how­ever, goes far be­yond what’s be­ing of­fered on the mar­ket to­day. Ve­hi­cle com­mu­ni­ca­tion aims to be far more in­te­grated and im­mer­sive for the driver. In­tro­duced as Ve­hi­cle-to-ev­ery­thing ( V2X) com­mu­ni­ca­tion, such technology will be ca­pa­ble of pass­ing in­for­ma­tion from a ve­hi­cle to any ex­ter­nal en­tity that may af­fect the ve­hi­cle, and vice versa. The three main cat­e­gories cur­rently be­ing de­vel­oped are: V2I ( Ve­hi­cle-to-In­fra­struc­ture), V2V ( Ve­hi­cle-to-ve­hi­cle), and V2D ( Ve­hi­cle-to-de­vice).


Ve­hi­cle-to-in­fra­struc­ture ( V2I) is based on wire­less com­mu­ni­ca­tion technology, es­tab­lish­ing an ex­change be­tween ve­hi­cles and high­way in­fra­struc­ture, trans­form­ing in­fra­struc­ture equip­ment into “smart in­fra­struc­ture” which con­tain com­mu­ni­ca­tion technology such as sen­sors, re­ceivers and trans­mit­ters. V2I pro­vides a wide range of safety, mo­bil­ity, and en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits for driv­ers. One par­tic­u­larly con­ve­nient V2I service is the abil­ity of ve­hi­cles to com­mu­ni­cate with traf­fic light sys­tems. How this works is that when a car en­ters

an area or city that sup­ports V21, it logs onto the in­fra­struc­ture's cloud and is then given a unique service to­ken. The ve­hi­cle’s GPS lo­ca­tion and head­ing then de­ter­mine which traf­fic sig­nal is com­ing up. In­for­ma­tion about that light will be pro­vided, no­ti­fy­ing the driver whether they’ll be able to make it through the in­ter­sec­tion or not. In the case that they are caught at the red light, a countdown (in sec­onds) be­gins un­til the green light ap­pears. Audi re­cently show­cased this technology in Las Ve­gas and plans to pro­vide this op­tional fea­ture in its 2017 ve­hi­cles but with a monthly sub­scrip­tion fee. Sadly, how­ever, V2I ser­vices such as this will most likely be in­tro­duced via painfully slow roll­out one city at a time.


Ve­hi­cle-to-ve­hi­cle ( V2V) technology re­lies on the above “smart in­fra­struc­ture” to cre­ate a plat­form for ve­hi­cles to com­mu­ni­cate, en­abling the send­ing and re­ceiv­ing of data be­tween com­pat­i­ble ve­hi­cles. In­for­ma­tion on road con­di­tions, traf­fic, and other en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions are some of the few ex­am­ples. The technology be­hind V2V is based on small ra­dio trans­mit­ters and re­ceivers found in ve­hi­cles, which are ca­pa­ble of broad­cast­ing in­for­ma­tion to in­fra­struc­ture and other ve­hi­cles within sev­eral hun­dred yards. Safety, of course, is the main mo­ti­va­tion be­hind this V2V. For ex­am­ple, in the case of a haz­ard, ve­hi­cle and in­fra­struc­ture sen­sors will au­to­mat­i­cally alert the plat­form, which, in the­ory, will no­tify nearby con­nected ve­hi­cles. An­other ad­van­tage is that ve­hi­cles may also alert the plat­form of traf­fic sever­ity analysis of ve­hi­cle speed and lo­ca­tion, no­ti­fy­ing other ve­hi­cles and rec­om­mend­ing a re-route.


Ve­hi­cle-to-de­vice ( V2D) com­mu­ni­ca­tion is a par­tic­u­lar type of ve­hic­u­lar com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tem that en­ables the ex­change of in­for­ma­tion be­tween a ve­hi­cle and an elec­tronic de­vice, in most cases a smart de­vice (smart­phone/ smart watch). The grow­ing de­vel­op­ment of mo­bile technology has ul­ti­mately en­tered the au­to­mo­tive tech in­dus­try. V2D lever­ages smart de­vice technology through mo­bile apps and NFC ca­pa­bil­i­ties to offfff­fer a bet­ter driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence - al­low­ing you to mon­i­tor, as well as in­ter­act, with your ve­hi­cle. Many au­tomak­ers have come to em­brace this technology, some the first-movers be­ing BMW and Tesla. BMW’S V2D tech, first made avail­able on the 2016 7-se­ries, of­fers both a mo­bile app and a smart key fob. The mo­bile app al­lows the driver to ac­cess cer­tain ve­hi­cle func­tions re­motely while the smart key fob al­lows for mon­i­tor­ing ve­hi­cle in­for­ma­tion and sta­tis­tics. Sim­i­lar to BMW, Tesla also pro­vides a sim­i­lar mo­bile app. Fea­tures in­clude al­low­ing the cus­tomer to re­motely turn the ve­hi­cle on and off, pre-set­ting ve­hi­cle tem­per­a­ture and us­ing the “sum­mon” fea­ture.


AVS rep­re­sent a ma­jor break­through in au­to­mo­tive in­no­va­tion, but their po­ten­tial im­pact on so­ci­ety re­mains am­bigu­ous.

Be­low are some of the ul­ti­mate im­pacts AV’S could have on econ­omy, mo­bil­ity, and so­ci­ety as a whole.

Car In­sur­ers May Need To Shift Their Busi­ness Model

For the long­est time, car in­sur­ers have pro­vided cover­age to cus­tomers in the event of road ac­ci­dents caused by hu­man er­ror. With the in­tro­duc­tion of AVS, auto in­sur­ers will need to shift the core of their busi­ness model and fo­cus on in­sur­ing car man­u­fac­tur­ers from li­a­bil­i­ties due to tech­ni­cal fail­ure in­stead; this opens up an en­tirely new busi­ness but may prove prob­lem­atic to in­surance com­pa­nies.

Road Ac­ci­dent Rates Will Drop

Along with to­day’s AV safety pre­cau­tions, fur­ther R&D will de­crease mo­tor-ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents sig­nif­i­cantly. As more ad­vanced AVS slowly be­come read­ily avail­able to the pub­lic, less driver in­ter­ven­tion will re­sult in less hu­man er­ror and breach of law, which will ul­ti­mately de­crease road ac­ci­dents.


As sur­real as driver­less cars may seem, the au­ton­o­mous technology band­wagon is con­tin­u­ously grow­ing and au­tomak­ers hope to make their driver­less cars avail­able to the pub­lic as soon as 2020. Now, the thought of sit­ting back and re­lax­ing dur­ing your daily com­mute is great and all but like ev­ery­thing in this world, noth­ing is per­fect. Be­low are few of the most com­mon aris­ing is­sues that have yet to be solved for AVS:

1. Strug­gling in bad weather

con­di­tions: Dur­ing heavy snow or rain LIDAR sen­sors and cam­eras have a dif­fi­cult time see­ing lane mark­ers and other ob­jects that help them drive safely.

2. Strug­gling on roads without clear lane mark­ings:

Lane mark­ings are the ba­sis for guid­ing driver­less cars, so when they can’t be distin­guished, it be­comes nearly im­pos­si­ble for AVS to op­er­ate or change lanes safely.

3. Nav­i­gat­ing in the city:

Cities con­tain pedes­tri­ans, cars, pot­holes, traf­fic cones and a whole mess of other vari­ables. All of th­ese ob­sta­cles may be too much for cars to keep track of and safe driv­ing be­comes com­pro­mised.

4. Coun­try reg­u­la­tions:

With the in­tro­duc­tion of AVS, new reg­u­la­tions need to be im­ple­mented. How­ever, in­con­sis­tent reg­u­la­tions around the world will pose a dilemma. Each coun­try may have difffff­fer­ent laws and reg­u­la­tions, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for man­u­fac­tur­ers to match them all.

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