Self-driving vehicles

A picture of self-driving car(I hope it will be there)

Self-driving cars(autonomous cars) are vehicles capable of sensing its envitonment and navigating without human input.

There are no fundamental innovations in the internal structure of autonomous cars.All devices are highly developed versions of their predecessors. According to K. Novitskiy and A. Boyarskaya's article, Self-Driving cars, these are the most essential devices for a Self-driving car to work safely:
Lidar gives the vehicle 360 degree understanding of its environment so the car can sense objects in front of, beside, and behind itself at the same time, all the time.
Laser helps the vehicle to determine its location in the world.Information from the sensors is cross-checked and processed by the software so that different objects around the vehicle can be sensed and differentiated accurately, and safe driving decisions can then be made based on all the information received.
Position sensor located in the wheel hub, detects the rotations made by the wheels of the car to help the vehicle understand its position in the world.
Radar detects vehicles far ahead and measures their speed so that the car can safely slow down or speed up with other vehicles on the road.

Máté Petrány wrote an article called New Yorkers and Californians Are Totally Ready for Autonomous Cars showing the results of Volvo's survey made online. The survey states that:

Here is an infographics picture:

But overall, consumers are skeptical about Self-driving vehicles, as Amy Danise tells us in her article on Nerdwallet:

76% 50% 49% 46% 36%
Would not put a child into a driverless car for a trip alone Would not pay extra for a driverless car Are not interested in owning a driverless car Think driverless cars will not be safe Say nothing appeals to them about a driverless car

However, are self-driving vehicles as good and comfortable as they are thought? They are able to drive through city pretty well, but "pretty well" isn't good enough when people's lives are at stake. According to Timothy B. Lee in his article, >Why Google and car companies are about to spend billions mapping American roads, it is stated that self-driving vehicles are still not ready to use widely.

Google will need big amount of people to make the map more and more detailed. Thus, the rate of employment shall even rise up, as there's a lot that software can do to speed up the process of identifying objects like street signs and fire hydrants, but Google still employs human analysts to do much of this work. When a single mistake could lead to an accident, it's better to be safe than sorry.

"Computers have been able to beat human beings at chess since 1997, when the IBM's Deep Blue beat human champ Garry Kasparov. But in his 2013 book Average Is Over, economist Tyler Cowen pointed out that (at least at the time he was writing) mixed teams of humans and computers — known as freestyle chess teams — were even better at chess than computer software alone. Humans provided valuable strategic insights to complement the massive computing power of the machines.

Google's self-driving car technology works on the same principle. A computer inside the car is responsible for making second-by-second driving decisions. But the car is in constant contact with Google headquarters, where a large team of human analysts — backed up by the vast computing power of Google's data centers — maintains an extremely accurate, detailed, and up-to-date map of the streets where Google's cars are driving."

Timothy B. Lee.

There is also a theory that the self-driving vehicles will not be rented, but will be owned, and there is only one reason. The reason is that it is almost impossible to know the situation in every corner of the world, as you cannot know whether that bush or that tree is still there or has grown up or not when you are far from urban areas, and it is really hard to keep such information updated. This can be done, but not soon at all. And, on the other hand, it is hard enough to keep all information about roads updated, but it is still possible. "For example, Google might just map the city of San Francisco and then offer a self-driving car service that competes with taxis, Uber, and Lyft within the city limits."

Works cited

Timothy B. Lee, Why Google and car companies are about to spend billions mapping American roads,, Apr 22, 2016, 8:00am EDT.

Máté Petrány, New Yorkers and Californians Are Totally Ready for Autonomous Cars, July 6 2016, "Road&track".

K. Novitskiy, A. Boyarskaya, Self-Driving cars, Belarusian National Technical University, Minsk, Belarus.

Amy Denise, Women Say No Thanks to Driverless Cars, Survey Finds; Men Say Tell Me More , June 9 2015, "Nerdwallet".

Author: Xiaogang Li