Level 5 technology will give a vehicle the ability to travel on a road without a driver. It can change the landscape, but there will be challenges along the way.
Today, semi-autonomous cars are available, and they have sensors. In the future, fully autonomous cars will use sensors that are more advanced. These sensors will recognize other automobiles, people, and road signs in the surroundings.
The new sensors will use cameras to identify these elements. Lidar will play a role too; it will measure the distance between obstacles on the road.
Sensors of the future will also have a radar. Autonomous cars will track every object’s speed and direction using this technology.
The Challenges for Sensors
A sensor could develop problems during several situations. If the weather is bad, the conditions could cause interference while a sensor scans the surroundings. Heavy traffic and road signs with graffiti could create problems too.
Currently, Tesla is working on a system that’s less susceptible to harsh weather. However, until Tesla’s fully autonomous cars are released, there is no way to prove that the technology is totally reliable and safe.
The Learning Curve
When autonomous cars are finally available, they will learn during every encounter using an artificial intelligence system, and they will develop better skills after their sensors process new data. Every car of the future with autonomous technology will need artificial intelligence to make the safest decisions and maneuvers on the road.
An artificial intelligence system uses algorithms to classify objects that are near an autonomous car. Every autonomous vehicle will have its own training system, and a typical system will have cues. A cue helps an artificial intelligence system recognize hazards, such as streetlights, signs, and pedestrians.
When an autonomous car needs to perform an action, it will review key information from its artificial intelligence system first. For example, if there is an obstacle on the road, an autonomous vehicle’s system will find a command for swerving or braking.
The Technology Needs to Be Safe
Autonomous cars will detect hazards better than human drivers in the future. However, the technology that’s currently in development needs some refinements and better learning algorithms. Everyone in the automobile industry isn’t fully on board. To ensure a bright and safe future, automakers, engineers, and designers must reach an agreement. They must agree on how cars are tested in labs, trained on roads, and validated by experts.
New Streets and Roads Could Cause Problems for Autonomous Cars
Although technology is faster than a human, it still has flaws. For example, an artificial intelligence system can’t adapt to a new environment on the fly because it needs time to learn. If an autonomous car discovers a brand-new road, it will have to update its software and maps.
New Roads Could Create More Challenges
A fully autonomous car’s software must have the ability to retain all information following every update. If a system forgets or erases key geographical information from previous software updates, a passenger’s safety will be at risk. The automotive industry hasn’t reached an agreement on this matter yet.
All autonomous driving systems need proper standards and regulations. This could be a major challenge for automobile businesses in the future because no industry has any sufficient regulations or standards for a complete autonomous system.
There are standards for all existing automobiles. They were set for vehicles that are controlled by a human driver. These are safety guidelines for semi-autonomous cars. All cars with a system that can take control away from a driver during an emergency must follow these standards.
The Government Could Have Control
The future for autonomous vehicles is going to be great if the industry creates proper regulations for the technology. Future automakers will need regulations for lane-keeping systems and other common features that define autonomous technologies.
In terms of the global market, the industry has set international standards for fully autonomous cars. These standards cover the basic requirements for global markets. The problem is that the current international standards don’t have great guidelines for common sensor problems and operational learning issues.
If the world fails to set proper regulations for autonomous cars, no automaker will succeed in the future. Without highly recognized standards and regulations, no one will ever know how to gauge an autonomous vehicle’s overall safety. If there is no way to measure the safety standards, the automobiles will never hit the market or the road.
Because an autonomous vehicle is powered by technology, bugs can be an issue. Glitches and bugs caused problems for Tesla. The company made headlines following several accidents. These accidents were caused by Tesla’s most recent automated vehicles.
The news reached many consumers, and the backlash wasn’t great. There were lasting effects among consumers as the news created doubt. If many customers are still undecided or cautious when autonomous cars are released, all automakers will have problems selling their products.
The Public’s Opinion Will Matter
Proper communication is the best way to build trust among consumers. Basically, the automotive industry needs to involve everyone when major decisions are made. The general population can help the industry overcome many obstacles by providing feedback, and everyone who fully understands the market could help the industry introduce and adopt the technology.
The Path to the Finish Line
The path to the finish line will have more obstacles. Some obstacles will only affect the autonomous vehicle industry, and others will impact consumers around the world and businesses that have a relationship with automakers. The following examples are minor challenges that could arise as most companies race to the finish line.
Autonomous vehicle trials are already in progress. During each trial, a team has to implement procedures to make a vehicle successful and safe.
The University of Michigan Transport Research Institute in Detroit has a testing town for trials. In this town, it’s easy to create driving situations that could happen on normal roads.
The infrastructure in most cities isn’t built for autonomous cars, so the automobile industry needs to work with city officials to prepare the roads for big data. Basically, this means that the city will have to provide updates so that all autonomous vehicles will know every traffic light pattern and areas where there is congestion.
Driverless vehicles will have totally different maintenance requirements. The process of explaining these requirements to most consumers may be a challenge for many salesmen. Consumers will no longer have to schedule maintenance because an autonomous car’s software will make the appointments automatically when problems are detected.
The automotive industry must build new relationships with insurance companies. Because autonomous cars will be less likely to crash, the insurance businesses will have to update their policies.
When driverless cars are available, there will be obstacles. However, they won’t stop the industry’s path to the finish line.