Until recently, self-driving cars were just an ambitious idea, unlikely to happen. Today, it’s our reality. Of course, they are still not a common sight on the roads, but the technology is ready to use. Self-driving cars have become possible thanks to a number of AI-related technologies, primarily deep learning and computer vision. What do you need to know about artificial intelligence in self-driving cars?
First off, let’s talk about the basics. Artificial intelligence has been present in modern cars for some time now. It has all started with smart driver’s assistants that monitor the vehicle’s surroundings and support the driver or alert them in case of an emergency or an accident risk. Such systems allow drivers to benefit from such solutions as:
- Emergency braking: For example, Volvo’s CWAB system can use full braking power to stop the car and avoid the accident.
- Night vision: These systems use thermographic cameras to increase the seeing distance in darkness or poor weather conditions. Mercedes offers such a solution.
- Enhanced communication and alerts: Voice commands, weather alerts, etc.
- Lane control: The vehicle alerts you when you drive off your lane. BMW offers such assistant.
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But that’s just the beginning. We are all used to these intelligent assistants, as they’ve become common, especially in top-of-the-line cars. Let’s go further because today, we have everything we need to put artificial intelligence in self-driving cars, making them 100% autonomous. Your company can benefit from this technology as well! Find out more now: Artificial intelligence consulting.
How AI is used in self-driving cars
Self-driving cars have become possible primarily thanks to computer vision and deep learning. CV uses high-resolution cameras and lidars that detect what happens in the car’s immediate surroundings. As a result, car systems can react to possible obstacles and avoid accidents. Of course, CV is not enough. You also have to teach car systems how to drive according to traffic rules. And this is where machine learning, backed up by deep learning, steps into the game.
Deep learning is one of the most advanced AI technologies that works similarly to the human brain. Every piece of data (concerning self-driving cars, we talk about data received by the vehicle’s sensors) goes through the multi-layered neural network, enabling analyzing images in a much more comprehensive way. This solution allows carmakers to achieve a much higher level of complexity and accuracy. In effect, self-driving cars are really smart and can operate even in congested cities.
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Benefits of self-driving cars
Self-driving cars are a huge milestone not just from the technological standpoint but also from the operational point of view. You see, these vehicles have everything it takes to make our everyday work accelerated and facilitated.
With self-driving cars:
- Companies running them can save time and money (e.g., drivers can focus on more complicated work) and even operate 24/7, all year round.
- The number of accidents decreases (AI algorithms are never tired, intoxicated, or sleepy)
Of course, we’re not saying here that autonomous vehicles are already in common use. This is still a project in the making, partly due to legal regulations in many countries, which forbid autonomous vehicles from driving on public roads. However, it’s just a temporary complication. As technology is growing and becoming more prevalent, the law will have to keep up with these changes.
It may be interesting for you – Computer Vision Solutions.
Artificial intelligence in self-driving cars: examples
To show you that this technology is at hand, we’ve chosen three tremendous examples of autonomous vehicles in action. For the sake of this article, we focused strictly on cars. Therefore, there are no drones and other self-steering vehicles/devices. Here we go:
It’s a US-based company that’s working on the world’s first autonomous ride-hailing service and autonomous trucking and local delivery solutions. They want to develop an autonomous driving system that’s capable of replacing the human driver altogether. Such a system could be applied both in passenger cars and trucks. Waymo based their solution on a network of radars, lidars, and cameras. Waymo’s cars have already driven over 20 billion miles both in the real world and in simulations. Their systems are capable of detecting:
- Other vehicles
- Other obstacles
Today, Waymo works with such car makers as Jaguar, Volvo, and Daimler Trucks in order to develop their solutions even further and put them in other vehicles.
That’s another company working on autonomous vehicles. Did you know that it was in 2015 when for the very first time, a BMW car (i3 to be exact) parked itself in a parking garage? Three years later, BMW opened their Autonomous Driving Campus, where they are working on self-driving vehicles. This campus allows BMW to keep all the research and development within one facility, making their work quicker. If you’d like to see BMW’s autonomous vehicles, take a look at this video:
In June 2021, official information was released that autonomous buses produced by the Aurrigo company will be operating on the streets of British Cambridge. These vehicles are currently in the final testing phase, and soon users will be able to use public transport, the operation of which will be based on AI and ecology. You can see Aurrigo’s buses in action even today. Just play this video:
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