Driver-less cars means cars driven without a driver. The reality check has been done by various automobile companies and by 2018 we can see driver-less cars on road but fully autonomous cars will still be a vision to watch in next 10 years.
Cars without brake pedals, gas or void of any controls is also going to happen but will take a major amount of time. To understand about driver-less cars in deep, we have sorted it for you here:
So, automated driving has levels to be explained set by Society of Automotive Engineers(SAE). Let’s take a walk through all the levels:
- SAE Level 0: This in fact is not at all considered under the factor of self driving. You as a human have all the controls of the car. You are the one handling the steering wheel, the brakes and the clutch. The car doesn’t drive or move by itself. The car can only provide you with some warnings by the system like blind spot detection, lane-departure or forward collision warning. So, we can term it as “No Self Driving” level.
- SAE Level 1: A little involvement by the system is what level 1 includes. This is a combination of human efforts and system recognition. The system accesses accelerator and steering of the car but not simultaneously. The factors that are handled are adaptive cruise control, keeping the lane or centering the lane assistance, automatic brake for emergency vehicles and anti-lock braking systems. Though all the other dynamic controls have to be handled by human only, few aspects are handled by the system. We can term this as “Limited Assistance”.
SAE Level 2: More than level 1 is what we have access to when we come to level 2. This is probably the level that most of the cars have currently including BMW, Tesla and Mercedes-Benz. With this, the car takes control of the steering and brakes together. It assists to change the lane or to center the car in the lane. Lane-keep assist helps the car to come back to the lane when you drift from the lane accidentally or not. At highways, the car will continue to move on its own for seconds or few minutes until your hand is lightly on the steering wheel. No hard access to steering otherwise that may turn up the wheels.
These factors influence the working of a car on the road, you can refrain yourself from the trouble of not looking at your cellphone while driving or doing any other activity while in the car. Everything is taken care by the system.
But what is not taken care is other cars changing lanes or coming to your lane or merging from some other lane. The car will not prompt and if adaptive cruise brake is focusing on a car meters ahead of it then probably it won’t focus to closer car and thus fail in making decision.
The car will also be not able to take sharp turns on mountains or hills and even hard braking. The car won’t be able to apply hard brakes by itself. If summarized, human existence and assistance is still required. So, can’t be termed as completely autonomous.
SAE Level 3: This level can be termed as the beginning of autonomous driving because there are still few conditions involved. This can handle various situations like taking sharp turns or drive on local roads. But a situation arises where the car can no more handle the traffic scenario or any other difficulty then it would need a human to take over within a span of 15 seconds or whatever is recorded.
This level is kind of very useless and therefore major companies like Tesla and Ford have thought of skipping this level.
SAE Level 4: Terming it as “Almost Autonomous”, level 4 does everything by itself without any human help. It can handle situations when it senses a car coming by slowing down, if the car breaks down it can call for help with telematics.
If this can do everything why do we need level 5? Well, it is difficult on level 4 for the car to venture out on unmapped areas or drive when the vision for cameras and LIDAR is blocked. Though human can take over the control to dive into unmapped areas but this should be already planned.
- SAE Level 5: Everything that a human does, will be expected out of a car if it is on level 5! This means diving through storms, snow, taking steep turns or even driving on roads with worn-out pavement marking, everything will be made possible by a fully autonomous car. No human assistance will be needed in such cars, and probably there will be no driver seat !
When is each company going to launch?
With so many automobile companies taking interest in the autonomous car making, the first ones to launch by 2018, will be Tesla, Audi and GM. According to GM’s CEO Mary Barra “The company expect[s] to be the first high-volume [read: other than Tesla] auto manufacturer to build fully autonomous vehicles.”
As per Elon Musk, Tesla’s autonomous car will be on roads and can drive from LA to New York by 2018.
According to Audi’s CEO, Audi A8 Sedan Level-3 equipped will be on roads by 2018 and expects to launch the fully autonomous version of it by the year 2020.
In fact, as per Ford’s CEO they are not even planning to launch level-3 car but will jump to level-4 and come with their autonomous car by 2021. Toyota, Google all plan to launch by 2020. Renault-Nissan will join the league by 2025. BMW in collaboration with Intel is eyeing on the launch by 2021.
What are the issues that are faced?
Issues have a never ending list, as this is going to change the era of driving cars! Not an easy pill to digest by the people and so it would surely take time to adapt and run according to plans. The prime factor that will be a roadblock is managing with the traffic rules and thus it will be required to make special laws for autonomous cars. Everyone expects a single line of similar rules to be worked in the whole US.
Insurance planning will be another hurdle. It will be difficult to manage the price for insurance and also who will be held responsible in case any accident happens.
The cars may cost higher bucks than the normal ones as it is well equipped with all facilities and tools. Cutting down car cost will be a major issue faced by the automobile companies.
Though there are people who will be benefited too. Driving through heavy traffic roads, you can enjoy your own leisure time, no worries about accidents or injuries, long rides can be enjoyed with ease, drink and drive won’t be an issue anymore, people with disabilities will have an upper hand and so many other riding issues are tackled down. It won’t be an impossible dream to catch anymore. There will be instances when we will thank technology! And may be instances when we will feel sorry for it but either way humans are in benefit!
With more such factors, We really look forward to driver-less cars making their way in the near future.