In this article:
- What is an Autonomous Vehicle?
- What are the 6 Levels of Autonomous Vehicles?
- What are the Advantages of Autonomous Vehicle Technology?
What is an Autonomous Vehicle?
An autonomous vehicle, or a driverless vehicle, can operate itself and perform necessary functions without any human intervention, through the ability to sense its surroundings.
An autonomous vehicle utilises a fully automated driving system to allow the vehicle to respond to external conditions that a human driver would manage.
What are the 6 Levels of Autonomous Vehicles?
There are six different levels of automation. As the levels increase, the driverless car’s independence increases in regard to operational control:
- Level 0: the car has no control over its operation and the human driver does all the driving.
- Level 1: the vehicle’s ADAS (advanced driver assistance system) has the ability to support the driver with either steering or accelerating and braking.
- Level 2: the ADAS can oversee steering, accelerating and braking in some conditions, but the human driver is required to continue paying complete attention to the driving environment throughout their journey, while also performing the remainder of the necessary tasks.
- Level 3: the ADS (advanced driving system) can perform all parts of the driving task in some conditions, but the human driver is required to regain control when requested by the ADS. In the remaining conditions the human driver executes the necessary tasks.some conditions, but the human driver is required to regain control when requested by the ADS. In the remaining conditions the human driver executes the necessary tasks.
- Level 4: the vehicle’s ADS is able to perform all driving tasks independently in conditions in which human attention is not required.
- Level 5: involves full automation whereby the vehicle’s ADS can perform all tasks in all conditions where no driving assistance is required from the human driver. This full automation will be enabled by the application of 5G technology, which will allow vehicles to communicate not just with one another, but also with traffic lights, signage and even the roads themselves.
One of the aspects of the vehicle technology used in automated vehicles is ACC, or adaptive cruise control. This system is able to adjust the vehicle’s speed automatically to ensure that it maintains a safe distance from those in front of it.
This function relies on information obtained using sensors on the vehicle allowing the car to perform tasks such as braking when it senses any vehicles ahead. This information is then processed with the appropriate instructions then sent to the actuators in the vehicle, which control the responsive actions of the car such as steering, acceleration and braking. Highly automated vehicles with fully automated speed control are able to respond to signals from traffic lights and other such non-vehicular activities.
What are the Advantages of Autonomous Vehicle Technology?
Autonomous vehicle technology will be able to provide certain advantages compared to human-driven vehicles. One potential advantage is that they could provide increased safety on the road. Vehicle crashes cause many deaths every year. Automated vehicles may decrease the number of casualties as the software used in them is likely to make fewer errors, in comparison to humans.
A decrease in the number of accidents could also reduce traffic congestion, a further potential advantage posed by autonomous vehicles. Autonomous driving can also achieve this by the removal of human behaviours that cause blockages on the road, specifically stop-and-go traffic.
Another possible advantage of automated driving is that people who are not able to drive – due to factors like age and disabilities – could be able to use automated cars as a more convenient transport system.
Autonomous cars also offer the elimination of driving fatigue and the option of being able to sleep during overnight journeys.