Sensor-Autonomous Automobiles

August 18th, 2016

The sensor autonomous car is currently marking a significant change in the perspective of driving . The questions are how practical or affordable the cars will and when the actual functioning vehicle will be released, is still in speculation. The tests with the sensor autonomous cars have proven to have spectacular progress demonstrated by multiple tests on public roads and reinventing the design to create a safer environment for the consumer. Although, we are still uncertain about its effective safety measures,  we do understand that the vehicle demands a complex integration of detailed algorithms constantly running on powerful processors, that have the ability to make critical decisions in real time. Also, these cars will need large streams of real-time data coming from a complex and different array of sensors.

A substantial amount of video cameras is also a key to these autonomous cars, these cameras are able to determine where the lane is and sense objects or markers on the road, to optimize safety maneuvers. But using cameras alone can lead to multiple complications. To start off, there can be mechanical issues of setting up correct angles for the cameras correctly and the constant cleaning of them. Another problem, can be the heavy graphic processing is needed to make sense of images and adding on outside factors of possible shadows, lighting, and other factors make it very challenging to accurately decide what the camera is seeing.

However, the alternative “sight” on the autonomous vehicle is a LIDAR system( Light Detection and Ranging system) which is created through countless sensors. To enable the split-second decision-making needed for self-driving cars, the LIDAR system finds an accurate 3D information of the surrounding environment. TheLIDAR provides live  information using high-speed, high-power pulses of laser-light that are timed with the response of a detector to calculate the distance to an object from the reflected light. An array of these detectors, or a timed camera, can be used to increase the resolution of the 3D information to help with the autonomous car safety as well with its original function. The transformed result is then used to calculate the vehicles’ position, speed, and direction relative to these external objects, to determine the probability of collision, and instruct appropriate action, if needed. Otherwise, having some people questioning

For more in-control, such as parking, lane-changing, or in bumper-to-bumper traffic, the LIDAR system is not as effective, this is a problem that is also delaying the actual release of the cars. Therefore, it is supplemented by radars built into the front and rear bumpers and sides of the vehicle, as a possible solution, but more test is needed.