The automobile industry has come a long way since the late 19th century when the first car was introduced to the world. In recent years, the automotive market was drastically reshaped thanks to the rising trend of electric cars.
But, that isn’t the only new technology that is being developed and improved in the present. Autopilot, or self-driving, cars are also seen as the future of the automobile industry. In this article, we will analyze whether autopilots will start a new revolution in the world.
What Are Autopilot Cars and How Do They Work?
Autopilot cars are robotic cars that are capable of driving on their own without any assistance from a human being. They do that by using super advanced software and hardware as well as sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI).
The self-driving cars are using sensors to perceive the surroundings of the vehicle, which include thermographic and optical cameras, lidar, radar, GPS, ultrasound, and inertial measurement units.
There are control systems included in autopilot cars that interpret sensory information to develop a 3D model of the surroundings.
Based on the model that is being created, the self-driving car can identify and conduct appropriate navigation strategies and paths, including managing obstacles and traffic controls.
Nowadays, some of the biggest car manufacturers such as BMW, Audi, Tesla, Ford, and Volkswagen are developing or testing autopilot cars. Google is also testing such new technologies, which has navigated over 140,000 miles of streets and highways in the California area.
Autopilot Cars Features
Google’s Waymo project is the perfect example of an autopilot car that is almost entirely autonomous. However, it still requires a human driver to be inside the car but only to override its system when needed.
At the moment, this car is not self-driving, but it can operate on its own when the conditions are ideal. Most self-driving vehicles on the market have a lower level of autonomy, however, it still has some pretty decent self-driving features.
The first one is the hands-free steering that centres the car without requiring the driver to put their hands on the wheel. The driver is still required to be inside the car to pay attention.
Next up, we have the adaptive cruise control (ACC) down to a stop, which automatically maintains a featured distance between the autopilot car and the vehicle in front of it.
Last but not least, there is lane-centring steering, which is a super useful feature as it intervenes when the driver crosses lane markings. It automatically nudges the vehicle to the correct side of the street lane.
Benefits of Autopilot Cars
At the moment, people are still very sceptical about placing so much trust in AI technology. No one likes to take risks when on the road, meaning that the drivers want to have full control of the vehicle.
However, there is a very good reason why the automobile industry is developing these cars. They come with numerous benefits, but most of them have to do with safety measures.
Autopilot cars have proven to reduce the number of accidents that happen on the road. As most accidents happen due to human error, if we take that part out of the equation, then the tragedies will be drastically reduced.
Many studies have been made on this topic, including the 2017 study by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT). The mentioned study has shown that the rate of accidents would fall by around 90% with self-driving cars.
The next benefit is the fact that the advanced AI-controlled gear and braking choices can help you save up fuel and with that, reduce gas emissions.
A study made by Ohio University has proven that emissions could drop by up to 60% if we adopt automotive cars. As mentioned, by using a self-driving car you will spend less on fuel, which will save you a good amount of money.
You will pay less attention on the road with the autopilot cars, meaning that you will have spare time to do whatever you want inside the car. This will improve entertainment and lower boredom while driving.
The driving experience is more pleasant, as the driving part is programmed using the latest and safest AI software. Also, your journeys will be significantly shorter. A 2015 study by KPMG discovered that self-driving cars can cut journey time by up to 60%.
Are Autopilot Cars the Future of the Automobile Industry?
As things are shaping out at the moment, there are a few obstacles that car manufacturers must overcome when developing autopilot cars. They are still very difficult to produce and people are still sceptical of their use, despite the many studies made on them.
If the companies find a cheaper way of manufacturing these cars, then we will definitely see more and more of the on the streets. With the many benefits that they provide, it is no wonder why people believe that they will take over the automobile industry in the future.