The idea of autonomous vehicles is not as farfetched as we anticipated a decade ago. In fact, many manufacturers are currently working on fully driverless vehicles. Some are even scheduled to launch as early as 2019. Although many buzzwords are present in the space, core principles such as the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are driving this revolution. These standards are extremely well defined and are being developed by engineers all over the world.
Technologies take time to evolve. Driverless Vehicles are no exception. As manufacturers are planning to roll-out one feature after another, we are moving closer and closer to a vehicle which will drive on its own. Through prototypes, data collection and experiments on the smaller features, they are able to asses & drive improvements for the features used in self driving cars. It is a very important process as what is observed and developed in a lab by an engineer, may not necessarily behave the same way on the road.
The ADAS has already been rolled out. Chances are, you own a vehicle which leverages at least a few of the technologies covered by this umbrella. The breakdown list of some of these features can be seen below:
A technology which automatically adjusts the angle of the high beams in order to illuminate the road without disturbing the driver in front.
Glare Free technology relies on selective lighting through the use of cameras and video processing. It allows the user to get maximum visibility by eliminating the glare normally caused by high beam lights.
One of the core principles of a self driving vehicle is to be able to predict what’s ahead. Adaptive Light Control allows the vehicle to position its lighting in a way that is convenient for the driver. In other words, it can illuminate the right direction before the turn is made.
This technology is self explanatory and can be found on many higher end models.
Although we are far from being able to enter an address and let the vehicle go, Tesla developed a way for the vehicle to stay within a lane on autopilot. That’s what the automotive navigation system is all about.
Most drivers struggle to drive at night. Although our sight is not as good, the same can’t be said about a night vision device or camera. Vehicles equipped with this technology can monitor objects, obstacles even in the darkest areas and successfully maneuver around them.
Many vehicles have an indicator which lights up if there’s an object in their blind spot. You can see an orange LED turn on at the bottom of their mirror when that is the case.
Once again, Tesla has great footage of their vehicles stopping right before the accident. The system allows their vehicles to anticipate a crash and stop just in time to avoid the catastrophe.
A detailed review has been written by TechCrunch covering the Tesla collision avoidance system which everyone is raving about. You can find the article here: TechCrunch Tesla Avoidance System
Many areas experience high winds during a season, at night or during abnormal conditions. It is important for the vehicle to recognize such wind presence and take appropriate action.
Believe it or not, but the AI algorithms are able to detect human behavior based on the vehicle handling.
This feature comes standard on most vehicles nowadays and is typically responsible for calling 911 in case of an emergency.
It’s important to know how to drive downhill. You can experience fluid & engine overheat if you aren’t driving the way you should. It is thus important for the vehicle to recognize the slope of the descent and adjust the gearing as well as the breaking settings to reflect on the drive.
The vehicle is able to monitor the blind spot and to correctly adjust itself for a lane change.
There are many more standards covered by the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) than we discussed in the list above.
Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is a very commonly used buzzword these days. In reality, there’s nothing mythical when it comes to AI in today’s vehicles or the ones being released in a few years. In fact, we are simply leveraging the evolving technologies for better detection, image processing and data storage in order to allow a car to be “more intelligent”. In other words, cameras, sensors, data storage and wireless connectivity has reduced in cost enough to be able to integrate efficiently into your vehicle.