Overview of Self-Driving Technologies

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Fig 1 #urban_automated_driving

What is self-driving car software?

What is self-driving car software? It is a computer program that takes a vehicle, typically a car or truck, and drives it without the supervision of a human driver. Self-driving car software is usually an autonomous system that can be left running and not plugged into the cloud. The purpose of this type of software is to let users control their cars from any location with a web-enabled laptop.

What is LIDAR

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Fig 2. Velodyne High-Def LIDAR

LIDAR (licensed lidar) is a high-resolution laser ranging from about 6 microns to about 10 microns. This refers to the distance between the object and the camera lens. LIDAR uses the theory of reflected light to identify objects. Each pixel on the camera has a different contribution to the image. LIDAR equipment is calibrated and fed with information by the computer application. Some self-driving vehicles are using LIDAR equipment which has been upgraded to a more advanced level of accuracy.

What is AI in Self-Drivign Car

AI (artificial intelligence) is the next generation of technology used in the self-driving cars industry. Artificial Intelligence is software that will enable machines to take over some aspects of the driving process. This includes decisions on which routes to take, what sensors to use, what data to collect, and what safety features to have on the vehicle. We are now able to take control of these functions in the hands of computers. One of the biggest hopes in the autonomous vehicle market is for an “intelligent car” to drive on the highways without human supervision, and it is believed that this technology may be available in five to ten years.


LIDAR and AI work together to provide machine intelligence in the form of real-time data from multiple camera systems. The data is fed into the computer program, which then processes the information and creates a pattern of the data that can be analyzed later. If a problem is found, the computer will notify the operator or the driver of the next step, such as taking evasive action, stopping the car, or increasing the following distance. There is currently some level of automation, which can take place at the curbside of the road and close the gap if a motorist hits something. However, this is limited to the current capabilities of the devices.

What is the Future of Self-Driving Car

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Fig. Credit of SAE 2021

In the future, this technology will provide real-time data collected by the camera systems to the machine learning system to help the machine to interpret the data. Eventually, this data may be stored in a repository outside of the vehicles, much like a spreadsheet. This information will be available to the vehicles themselves through a connection to the cloud. This cloud will then analyze the data gathered from the vehicles and send the gathered information back to the drivers or the operators in the cars. In many ways, this process will resemble what happened when computers took the data they were analyzing and told the computers what the data means.

Another use for what is self-driving car technology is to allow the cars to collaborate with other autonomous or networked devices. For instance, an airbag system connected to the vehicles could sense if there is a risk of a collision and engage the driverless car’s brakes so that the driver is able to take evasive action. This is not the full potential of the technology, however. In fact, many experts believe that fully self-driving vehicles will need to have some input from the drivers. As the vehicles become more automated, it may be difficult for the individual to interact with the machine learning system, and so the system will become more dependent on the individual driving the vehicle.

Impact of Self-Driving Car on Society

Some are worried about what is self-driving cars and what the implications are for society in general. The concern is not entirely unwarranted. Self-driving cars do present a number of problems for current transportation systems. If all vehicles were to run on autopilot, then traffic jams would be a thing of the past. This will mean increased rush hour traffic on major roads, which will increase the possibility of accidents, which will increase the costs associated with fixing them. Self-driving cars can also pose security risks as someone could be controlling the vehicles and therefore posing a security risk, even if they are not necessarily putting anyone at risk physically.

Luckily, there are measures being taken to attempt to prevent these problems. Currently, Teslarocas do not have the data available to allow them to drive around autonomously, but they do have the ability to update the system with new data collected by the car. In the future, though, it is expected that all autonomous Teslarocas will have access to data updated via mobile devices, such as smartphones. The move to make the vehicles partially or fully self-driving may bring with it several concerns, but these should be lessened as the technology becomes more commonplace and safer for drivers.

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