Of late, there’s been a lot of buzz surrounding driverless cars. Recently, on May 17th, Tampa, FL played host to a driverless car event where it was demonstrated how “sensors” and “cameras” can replace human drivers completely. At present, Google is in fact, paying people to test drive its autonomous vehicle while Uber wants to experiment with the idea of self-driving taxis where it would partner with Google. Automobile majors such as Volvo, Audi, BMW and Chevrolet have identified driverless cars as integral and inevitable to the future outlook of urban transportation.
Considering that ninety percent of all road accidents happen due to human errors, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) will address a significant issue especially when they come equipped with an array of safety systems listed below.
To think of how many accidents can be absolutely prevented in future, the advent of ADAS systems is becoming necessary to our understanding of the smart cities initiatives promoted by urban corporations and municipalities worldwide. Indeed, driverless cars will play an essential role in supporting smart transit projects such as intelligent fleet management systems which have received positive publicity among municipalities and governments worldwide.
The data needed to support safe ADAS systems above can come from just about anywhere: nearby vehicles, in-vehicle cameras, GPS systems, mechanized sensors such as accelerometers, gyrometers etc. In addition, lane markings, road signs, obstacles such as trees etc. can be integrated with their own sensors to pass warning to a centralized computer which monitors and controls the driving motions.
Public transport APIs and communication protocols including ZigBee, Wi-Fi, Flex Ray and 3G/4G etc. will give the current status of road condition to ADAS systems. In-vehicle cameras mounted can support H.264 encoding with different bit rates at front and rear to keep track of any weather traffic data and nearby vehicles with a mechanism to enable/disable wide dynamic range (WDR) on camera.
Despite all the security and safety features, most people would be initially hesitant in actually getting inside a vehicle with the knowledge that there are no drivers at all. This fear can be addressed by the comforting knowledge that driverless cars can be equipped with on-board diagnostics (OBD) to prevent mishaps. OBD enables vehicle technicians/garages to achieve the fuel consumption and on-road malfunction status of the vehicle. So, in the event the vehicle’s computerized systems stop functioning properly, the entire vehicle can be safely disengaged without raising the anxiety level of passengers.
What’s more – driveless cars can address a series of everyday hassles and challenges that we take for granted everytime we turn on the ignition and hit the road.