Technology is making all smarter – so with cars. All the things and gadgets around us tested on the yardsticks of smartness and autonomous actions. Smart phones, smart homes, smart computers and smart robots and many more then why not smart vehicles. A vehicle that is smart and can take its own decisions after analyzing the situations fast and accurately.
It possesses the caliber of making decisions fast and overcoming the limitations of human reflexes and alert levels, and thus provides an extra safety. It is all about autonomous driver-less cars.
The Federal Highway Administration has been carrying extensive research work in the domain since many decades from the first autonomous vehicles being developed in the year 1962 itself.
An insight into the core technology
The revolutionary advancements in the electronic industry has helped the automotive industry. Automation is taking a step over expanding its reach from factories to automobiles. Automation in automobiles will allow them to make an exact and clear analysis of surroundings and associate parameters like speed, traffic signals, obstacles, nearby vehicles, traffic approaching from behind, alert levels of the driver, etc. With the analysis of these parameters, vehicle can take its own judicious move. Thus, in the coming days we will need only passengers in the vehicle and rarely a driver.
The sensory receptive organs of the autonomous vehicles will be various sensors, radars, lasers and cameras. These will act as the sensory parts of the autonomous system. These and entrusted with the job of only conveying the correct picture of the surroundings. The job of analyzing and making appropriate decisions is that of the controller. Controllers are advanced electronic ICs or PLCs and rarely be DCS modules.
These controllers have to be programmed beforehand, telling them about the course of action to be taken when confronted with a certain set of conditions. Hence the analytical skills of the programmer play a crucial role in making the system effective because ultimately the controllers will be reciprocating the instructions given by the programmer when confronted with the situations.
Additional features of path detection and fixing the start and end points is done with the help of GPS systems. Obstacle detection is an important feature of the module and the vehicle will be able to sense them in front and at the rear and make speed modulations and take courses to avert these obstacles.
Platooning: an innovative technology for coordinated traffic
Platooning is an innovative way of traffic management that arose as an consequent advantage of autonomous vehicles. Platooning refers to allowing many vehicles to move in an organized way in a coordinated manner with least clearances between the vehicle to allow for maximum traffic on the roads without the traffic getting haywire and jammed ultimately. Autonomous vehicles with electronic controllers can provide practical realizations for approach and make it a reality. This is under research under the aegis of the Federal Highway Administration.
Present trend and future prospects
The first autonomous vehicle was tested in 1962 and constant research is being done to improvise the technology. A lot of improvements have take place with successful testing of the vehicles. This feature can provide extra safety for the passengers and curb lot of mishaps on the road through apt measures like applying brakes and taking sharp steers. This is a limiting trait of humans who possess varying stimulus and reflexes and alertness levels and decision making skills. With the developments in artificial intelligence technology, it can reach new peaks and bring incredible results.