An autonomous car (driverless car, self-driving car, robotic car) is a vehicle that is capable of sensing its environment and navigating without human input.
Autonomous cars can detect surroundings using a variety of techniques such as radar, lidar, GPS, odometry, and computer vision. Advanced control systems interpret sensory information to identify appropriate navigation paths, as well as obstacles and relevant signage. Autonomous cars have control systems that are capable of analyzing sensory data to distinguish between different cars on the road, which is very useful in planning a path to the desired destination.
Data from each sensor is filtered to remove noise and often fused with other data sources to augment the original image. How the vehicle subsequently uses this data to make navigation decisions is determined by its control system.
The majority of self-driving vehicle control systems implement a deliberative architecture, meaning that they are capable of making intelligent decisions by
1) maintaining an internal map of their world and
2) using that map to find an optimal path to their destination that avoids obstacles (e.g. road structures, pedestrians, and other vehicles) from a set of possible paths. Once the vehicle determines the best path to take, the decision is dissected into commands, which are fed to the vehicle’s actuators. These actuators control the vehicle’s steering, braking, and throttle.
The company’s which are working on self-driving cars
- Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, recently announced that the car manufacturer will produce self-driving cars within three years.
- Nissan has announced that it will have a self-driving car available by 2020
- Google has said it will do so by 2018.
- Daimler AG, a maker of Mercedes-Benz, recently announced that an S-class sedan had completed a 62-mile journey in the streets of Germany without a driver.
- Audi’s self-driving car successfully navigated 156 turns of the 12-mile Hill Climb course in Colorado’s Pikes Peak.