Self-driving cars used to be a thing of fiction, but as we get closer to the year 2020, autonomous cars are becoming more of a reality. While self-driving cars are, without a doubt, an amazing invention, there may still be many skeptics out there.
Even though autonomous cars will undoubtedly help to reduce accidents that are directly related to human error, it may be difficult for many of us to wrap our minds about how self-driving cars really operate. Let’s take a look at some of the technology behind self-driving vehicles.
Some of the Main Tech Features in Self-Driving Cars
Some of the features, used in self-driving cars, are similar to those that we may already use in our cars, particularly if the car is relatively new. As the traffic on our roadways continues to grow, the following features must be fine tuned and work seamlessly in self-driving cars:
Collision avoidance is crucial. Through radar, laser, or camera systems, drivers are warned of a potential crash and can start to apply the brakes. For obvious reasons, this feature is a definite must in self-driving cars. Even if a passenger in a self-driving car needed to “take over,” collision avoidance must work every single time.
Ever wonder how a self-driving car stays in a lane? A safety feature similar to lane departure or a drifting warning helps to keep autonomous cars in the correct lane. If you have this feature in your current vehicle, you most likely get an alert to correct your steering direction.
Blind Spot Detection
Even if you think you’re “visible” to other drivers, it’s easy to get in another vehicle’s blind spot or other cars can get in yours. Blind spot detection relies on cameras or radar to detect any vehicle’s in the blind spot to avoid a collision.
The thought of a car parking itself is pretty amazing, especially parallel parking on a busy city street. If you have parking assist on your current vehicle, you may appreciate the extra set of “eyes” (aka. camera) that helps you see how much space you have.
Adaptive Cruise Control
Adaptive (or enhanced) cruise control is just as important as the collision avoidance feature because it keeps a safe distance between you and other cars.
The Importance of Connectivity
Even if the cars we drive right now have some of the same technology used in self-driving cars, we are still held responsible, as drivers, for the decisions we make behind the wheel. Without connectivity, self-driving cars would just be a car in need of a driver.
As drivers, we often forget about the importance of connectivity and the role it plays in how our tech-savvy car works. A self-driving car needs to be constantly connected so it can have access to up-to-date traffic, weather, road conditions, any construction or detours, and maps.
If there’s a glitch in connectivity, all of the features mentioned above fail to work properly and can increase the risk of a roadway incident.