Programs like The Jetsons and Back to the Future have long captured the hearts of their audience, emulating the pure childish wonder and curiosity that correlate with technological advancements of the future. While we have a long way to go before our sci-fi fantasies become reality, automobile innovators have already begun to make major headway with self-driving capabilities.
Companies developing and/or testing autonomous cars include Audi, BMW, Ford, Google, General Motors, Tesla, Volkswagen and Volvo. Those that succeed will be able to tap into a huge potential market: The semi and fully autonomous vehicle market in North America alone was worth $1.7 billion in 2016 and is projected to grow to more than $26.2 billion by 2030.
A self-driving car (sometimes called an autonomous car or driverless car) is a vehicle that uses a combination of sensors, cameras, radar, and artificial intelligence (AI) to travel between destinations without a human operator. To qualify as fully autonomous, a vehicle must be able to navigate without human intervention to a predetermined destination over roads that have not been adapted for its use.
Machine learning algorithms make it possible for self-driving cars to exist. They allow a car to collect data on its surroundings from cameras and other sensors, interpret it, and decide what actions to take. Machine learning even allows cars to learn how to perform these tasks as good as (or even better than) humans. Various Machine Learning and Deep Learning Algorithms are used in Autonomous Driving Architectures for different tasks like Motion Planning, Vehicle Localization, Pedestrian Detection, Traffic Sign Detection, Road-marking Detection, Automated Parking, Vehicle Cybersecurity and Fault Diagnosis.
What does the advent of Self driving cars mean for the world? Here’s what’s forecasted…
Say goodbye to accidents. Once perfected, self-driving cars will statistically less likely to be involved in car accidents. Whether human error or concerns of drunk driving, we can except favorable reports on notoriously accident-prone countries like the United States (AnalyticsInsights).
Cheaper to ride, not buy. Driverless cars will likely lead to less cars purchased, since the convenience of being a passenger will be more lucrative than a down payment. More shared, communal options will help facilitate a greener planet and a fatter wallet.
Delivery, easy as 1-2-3. Beneficiaries of self-driving cars can most certainly expect packages to deliver themselves, literally. This will also likely lead to self-driving semi-trucks to transport goods down the line. Startups including TuSimple and Garik have already begun to make headway in this area of focus (AnalyticsInsights).
Traffic, what is that anyway? Less people driving means less cars on the road, and less cars on the road means less traffic. Peak and rush hour times of day will be a concern of the past once autonomous vehicles are in full swing. This may even result in fewer traffic tickets, as well.
AI-support behind the vehicle. Through the implementation of AI in self-driving vehicles, consumers can expect to see an increase in, “driver assist programs, autonomous driving, driver risk assessments, and driver monitoring programs” (AnalyticsInsights). Not only will this create a safer driving experience for all users, but also a more fuel and time efficient one as well.
AI-driven manufacturing. Manufacturing has a lot to gain through the adoption of AI. Whether it be an interest in forecasting for demand and volume – or a desire to streamline supply chain and postproduction sectors – the automotive industry has a lot to gain.
The road of meaningful innovation is not for the faint of heart, and often does not come without great sacrifice. Many have become emulsified, for example, in the tragedy surrounding recent Tesla accident fires, where some argue that the futuristic and electric elements of the car door prevented drivers from saving from peril (WashingtonPost). While lawsuits are still in progress, this situation serves as reminder of what is at stake when treading into uncharted waters.
The world waits patiently for what is to come, and we can only speculate that if successful, it will change the world as we know it, forever. While AI is being implemented at rapid speed in a variety of sectors, the way in which it’s being used in the automotive industry is pathbreaking.
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