This study is focused of the advantages and opportunities related to transportation as a result of using autonomous vehicle. Many companies and manufacturers have announced their plan for autonomous vehicles and technology. Autonomous vehicles will have a huge impact in our day to day lives as well as in technology. This rapidly emerging technology will affect the transportation system entirely including changes in energy consumption, increased safety, climate change impacts, efficiency of transport. Autonomous vehicles offer a higher comfort of traveling at lower prices and at the same time to increase road capacity. Connected vehicle technology provides a great opportunity to implement intelligent routing system. Connected vehicle provides the groundwork of future road transportation. Researches in this area are gaining a lot of attention to improve not only traffic mobility and safety, but also vehicles’ fuel consumption and emissions 1. This paper goes in detail about the technologies and hardware used in an autonomous vehicle along with the applications and benefits of autonomous vehicle.
Autonomous car is an unmanned vehicle capable of fulfilling human transportation by sensing its surroundings and navigating without human inputs. There have been significant advances in technology and automated systems that will help us see the use of autonomous cars in our roads. Various systems are already available that provide the driver with different levels of decision support 2. The level of support offered to the driver or user can range from level-0 to level-4. As stated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) there is a five level hierarchy for the concept of autonomous cars.
Level-0: The driver is in full control of the car without any assistance.
Level-1: Any one function is assisted.
Level-2: More than one function is assisted at the same time, the driver remains attentive.
Level-3: Driving functions are automated; the driver can engage themselves in other activities.
Level-4: The car is completely assisted or automated, no human input is required.
In these instances the role of the driver is slowly moving towards a supervisory role within a complex system rather than one of direct control of the vehicle 1.
Over the course of the last decade great advances have been made in autonomously driving cars. The technology has advanced to the point that the driverless cars technology is currently being tested on public roads 3. Vehicular automation involves the use of:
Many automakers are joining with Google, Uber, and high-profile start-ups to harness the technological advances that will power next-generation autonomous vehicles.
Vehicular communications plays an important role in maintaining safe distance between cars. These systems use vehicles and roadside units as the communicating nodes which providing each other with information. As a cooperative approach, vehicular communication systems can allow all cooperating vehicles to be more effective. According to a 2010 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, vehicular communication systems could help avoid up to 79 percent of all traffic accidents.
An autonomous car consists of the following hardware and technology:
Wheel Speed Sensors
Ultra Sonic Sensors
LIDAR (Light Detection & Ranging):
LIDAR also known as laser scanning is a remote sensing technology that measures distance by illuminating a target with laser and analyzing the reflected light. A basic LIDAR consists of emitter, mirror and receiver. It is the most important device of the vehicle. It is mounted on the roof of the vehicle.
RADAR (Radio Detection & Ranging):
Radar is a sensor which uses radio waves to detect and monitor various objects. Accident prevention systems trigger alerts when they detect something in the cars blind spot
The detectors are mounted both on the front and back of the car. Three Detectors are placed in the front and 1one on the rear end.
GPS (Global Positioning System):
GPS is a space based satellite navigation system that provides location and time information anywhere on earth.
The current GPS have 3 segments:
Space segment (SS)
Control segment (CS)
User segment (US)
GPS keeps the car on the intended route.
Cameras are a crucial for self-driving cars as they are low-cost and small, provides appearance information about the environment, and work in various weather conditions. They can be used for multiple purposes such as visual navigation and obstacle detection. We can use a surround multi-camera system to cover the full 360-degree field-of-view around the car. In this way, we avoid blind spots which can otherwise lead to accidents 4.The camera is mounted near the rare view mirror showing 3-D images of the road ahead, also spotting various hazards.
It also helps in analyzing and identifying road signs and traffic signals.
The data from all the above mentioned system is fed in to an onboard computer which processes this data at high speed and sends the outputs to the electro-mechanical units like automatic steering, throttle and braking system. This computer is also connected to the internet and GPS system to provide real time monitoring and updates.
Wheel Speed Sensor:
Wheel speed sensors measure the road wheel speed and direction of rotation.These sensors provides input to a number of different automotive systems including the anti-lock brake system and electronic stability control.
Ultra sonic Sensor:
An Ultrasonic sensor is a device that can measure the distance to an object by using sound waves. It measures distance by sending out a sound wave at a specific frequency and listening for that sound wave to bounce back. By recording the elapsed time between the sound wave being generated and the sound wave bouncing back, it is possible to calculate the distance between the sonar sensor and the object. Ultra sonic sensors are mounted on various sides of the car to detect objects near the car. These sensors provide parking assistance, collision warning, lane departure among other functions.
Driver sets a destination and the cars software calculates the route and starts the car on its own. A rotating ,roof mounted LIDAR sensor monitors the range around the car by sending a laser beam that bounces off a mirror, after bouncing off, the laser beam returns to the mirror and is bounced back to the receiver, where it can be converted into data. Radar systems in the front and rear end of the car calculate the distance to obstacles. Artificial intelligence software is connected to all the sensors and has input from Google street view and video cameras. The artificial intelligence stimulates decisions making processes and controls driving systems such and the steering and brakes .the cars software consults Google maps for advance notice of sign boards, traffic lights etc.The signals from the sensors are used by the Electronic control unit for decision making. Based on the given information from the sensors, the Electronic control unit gives signal to the actuators, which helps in controlling the vehicle. Real time images and information from various surroundings of the vehicle gives output to the user interface located inside the vehicle. Most of the recent autonomous cars generally use Simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) algorithms. Many systems are already available and are used to assist human drivers like Automatic Breaking System (ABS) and Automatic Cruise Control (ACC).Thus the vehicle can generate a map of its surroundings enabling it to avoid obstacle and travel at ease.
Google driverless car: Waymo is an autonomous car developed by Alphabet Inc.
Navia: The world’s first commercially available driverless car by France based robotics company Induct.
Tesla: All tesla vehicles, including the Model 3 , have the hardware required for full self driving capabilities at a safety level. The tesla model s and tesla model x consists of eight surrounding cameras providing 360 degree of visibility around the car up to 250 meters of range. On top of that there are twelve updated ultrasonic sensors allowing to detect soft and hard objects. A forward facing radar with enhanced processing that is able to see through fog, rain, dust and even the car ahead.
Mercedes: The Mercedes F-015 is luxury in motion. It has an electric hybrid system with a range of 1,100 kilometers; this enables the F-015 to cover distance similar to normal diesel engined cars, but purely on electric power with zero emission. The F-015 communicates with its surroundings both visually and acoustically. Six displays are installed making the interior a digital living space. It shows a perfect relationship between the virtual and the real world. Passengers are able to interact by gestures or touching the screens.
Safer Streets: In 2017, there were 2,235 major accidents resulting in 1,509 people injured in the first 9 months. Once driverless cars become in streets, it is expected to reduce accidents by 90%.thus saving lives and making the streets safe.
Traffic Patterns: Autonomous cars know the position of surrounding traffic and create significantly more efficient traffic flow. Autonomous cars are able to not only dynamically re-route themselves based on traffic conditions, but also to avoid traffic jams in the first place.
Saves time: With humans no longer involved in driving, commuters are likely to save up to an hour every day.
Eco-Friendly: Autonomous cars are expected to help reduce emissions by 60%.
Lower fuel consumption
Cost efficiency: safer driving will reduce the cost of vehicle insurance.
Helps the disabled: With the introduction of autonomous cars, disabled people have the freedom to go to places they want without relying on anybody.
Quicker reaction time: A human takes about 2 seconds to react and apply brakes whereas a computer only take 0.3 seconds
Reduces the need of traffic police
Hunt for parking eliminated: Autonomous cars can be programmed to drop you off at your destination and park themselves, once done they will come back to pick you up at your command.
Autonomous vehicles are the future of transportation and technology .There has never been a revolution this large in the automobile industry. Autonomous vehicle have been an active area of research but particularly in the past five years 5.Manufacturers like Audi, Nissan, Volkswagen, and Honda have said to release autonomous cars in the future. The arrivals of autonomous vehicles are most likely to be in 2020. In the near future, they will be a crucial part of modern transportation system. Furthermore, with such rapid changes in intelligent transportation system, the education systems must align itself with these emerging technologies 5. The use of autonomous vehicles can be a turning point in terms of reducing emissions of Green House Gases 6.More research are being done on various parts of the world for making autonomous cars a reality on the roads in the near future. With tesla vehicles on the road it has given the other manufactures a boost in manufacturing autonomous vehicles. Research should be done to enhance the technology and hardware of the vehicle.
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