The era when you played with remote-control cars has now become a reality. Driverless vehicles are proof of the fact that we are surrounded by intelligent and connected technology. Several manufacturers, and not only car manufacturers, have been testing this emerging style of mobility. Apple has already been running an autonomous vehicle in California for a while now.
Promises to be fulfilled:
- AUTONOMY: Thanks to its sensors, scanners, cameras and radar, the vehicle can assess its environment with remarkable precision.
- SAFETY: figures suggest that 90% of accidents in the United States are caused by human error.
- RELIABILITY: the vehicle controls its functions and will warn users in the event of a breakdown or upcoming repairs
- TIME-SAVING: We spend on average 50 minutes a day in the car. Therefore, we will have more time to relax, work or do other activities.
- SPACE-SAVING: fewer parking spaces will be needed. Less space is needed between vehicles – the reduction in surface area needed for parking is estimated at 15%.
- GREEN: Research by the McKinsey Institute suggests that autonomous vehicles will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 60% by the way they improve driving. For example, by accelerating and decelerating less frequently, they use an estimated 4 to 10% less fuel. Being able to alternate between petrol and electric power allows for further savings to be made.
The field of play
Several manufacturers and brands are investing intensively in the research and testing of autonomous vehicles. The manufacturer Tesla is without doubt the best-known. Google, however, has just announced the end of its tests. A number of collaborations between manufacturers and start-ups were announced at the CES (Consumer Electronic Show) at the beginning of January in Las Vegas. Here are a few promising examples:
Ndivia and Audi: a marriage of cars and technology
This will be a driverless car operated by artificial intelligence and the date is set for 2020. Ndivia will equip Audi vehicles with a Drive PX 2 platform. The system, as well as being equipped with sensors, is also able to “read the driver” and understand facial expressions as well as its environment. You are left to sit back and enjoy your journey.
Daimler and Uber:
This new collaboration was unveiled in January 2017. Over the next few years, the German car-maker will supply the US Uber with its own autonomous vehicles. They promise to make towns safer, cleaner and more accessible. “Every business will benefit from the market-leading skills and expertise developed in the research of autonomous vehicles and the operation of the networks” Daimler and Uber said in a joint press release.
BMW & Intel & Mobileye:
This trio have joined forces to build an autonomous vehicle with artificial intelligence by Mobileye. The Israeli company specialises in driving solutions and is responsible for “natural driving” in automated vehicles. For example, windscreens have a system with two cameras to be able to read road signs more clearly. Testing of the Series 7 is due to begin in 2017. Intel will supply the calculations and connectivity needed to make the vehicle genuinely autonomous.
The car of the future. To make autonomous driving a future reality, the electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla has announced that all cars coming off its production lines will be fully equipped with sensors, cameras and radars. This includes the Model S and Model X, which are currently being produced, as well as the compact future Model 3. The “Autopilot” mode indicates a system of assisted driving. This is not a completely autonomous system and means that the driver retains control. Four elements are included: long-range radar, a camera mounted on the front of the electric vehicle, an ultrasonic scanner which is capable of detecting everything around the vehicle and a GPS which gives real-time updates on the flow of traffic. The vehicle can detect and avoid dangers by itself and accelerate or slow down if necessary, being constantly aware of everything happening in its environment.
Over the next five years, Ford Motors will invest one billion dollars (940 million euros) in the technology start-up Argo AI. The aim of this collaboration is to build an autonomous car aimed at car-sharing by 2021. The manufacturer will become Argo AI’s biggest shareholder. Argo is based in Pittsburg and was founded by experts who formerly worked for research teams developing autonomous vehicles for Google and Uber.