The concept of the Self-driving vehicle ages back from 1478 when Leonardo Da Vinci the epitome of inventions sketched an idea of a Self-propelled cart. Yes, you read it right, It is even before Karl Benz patented his Motorwagen on January 29, 1886, which is also known as the Birthdate of Automobile. Since then the idea of Autonomous Vehicle had remained an idea until Norman Bel Geddes presented a Radio Controlled Electromagnetic guided vehicle in GM 1939 exhibit, Today Uber ATG, Google’s subsidiary Waymo, General Motor Cruise, TESLA, Walmart Gatik ZOOX, Drive.ai many more are working on Autonomous Vehicle and even Amazon, Volvo, TUsimple are working on Driverless Trucks, which can be said as early adopters as they operate on Highways and are creating the future of Autonomy.
Today’s Self-driving vehicles are more advance than ever before which can make 3D maps of the surroundings and connect by Internet of things (IoT), Self-Driving Vehicle would not be possible without Artificial Intelligence, where the computer present in the car collects data from the sensors and merge it with a software technic called Sensor Fusion. The Vehicle has a Real-time 3D mapping made possible by LIDAR Laser Sensor, Dash cameras plays important role by capturing images of the road, lane-marks, Signals, and nearby vehicles at an high Frame rate which creates data to feed the Machine Learning Algorithm such that it can make decisions, Inertial Measuring Unit (IMU) which I call as robust sensor, Which can sense the 3D motions of the Vehicle in every aspect, as it has Gyroscope, Magnetometer, Accelerometer sensors in it, Which gives the data of the road inclination, speed of the vehicle, direction. Another important sensor without which position of the vehicle can’t be determined is the GPS which we use in our phone for navigation, basically gives the position of the vehicle. By merging all this data, fine data is generated which can be fed to the algorithm. Even by using this Cutting-Edge technology overcoming the difference between the real images and reflected images from potholes and priority of decisions that are crucial for the vehicle is fairly challenging, But by Machine Learning process the decision-making capacity of the Vehicle gets better every time with a feedback loop.
Transportation experts predict that Autonomous Vehicles won't have ownerships instead people would have to use them to commute from one point to another, I would call it travel-capsules. By paying a minimal price similar to the existing UBER, OLA, Lyft or GRAB which reduces the traffic and makes it available to everyone and even reduces Car Accidents to nearly zero. Statistics tell that alone in India, there are 4,67,044 reported Road Accidents which is 6% of world Traffic Accidents, which can be prevented by this technology. So, when are they coming? You won’t believe me; they are already here. Yes, they are already operating in LA, Arizona, San Francisco. They are operating under permits issued by the Department of Motor Vehicle, State of California. But safety has become more crucial since the fatal crash of Uber self-Driven Vehicle which killed a pedestrian Elaine Herzberg at Arizona occurred. Since then the tests are conducted with more precautions. But the issue is who will be responsible for those accidents? Is it the driver, The Government, The Vehicle Or must the roads have infrastructural changes? like better lane markings, new speed limits. Last but not the least, Can we adapt to that change?