Self driving cars are basically a vehicle that is capable of sensing the environment and operating without any human intervention. The car runs even if there is no human passenger present on the driving seat. An autonomous car, however, is capable of performing every single task that is performed by a traditional car and can go anywhere just like a traditional car.
Currently, SAE (The Society of Autonomous Engineers) has introduced six different levels of automation ranging from level 0 to level 5. These levels of automation are now adopted by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The difference between Autonomous, Automated, and Self-driving
SAE uses the word ‘automated’ instead of ‘autonomous.’ The word ‘autonomy’ can be implemented beyond the electromechanical world. An autonomous car is completely aware of its environment and makes its own choices. However, a self-driving car is aware of its environment but makes choices depending on the order received. For instance, an autonomous car might take you to the beach instead of work, however, a self-driving car would take you to the beach only when you order it.
The word ‘self-driving car’
is often used in place of autonomous cars. However, there is a very small but important difference between both. A self-driving car can run on its own in most situations, but a human passenger must be present inside the car. A self-driving car falls under Level 3, which is also known as conditional driving automation and Level 4 which is known as high driving automation. Level 4 and 5 are subjected to geofencing whereas an automation car that falls under Level 5 can go anywhere without a passenger.
How safe is a self-driving car?
When it comes to self-driving cars, more than its usefulness people are concerned about safety. Ever since the concept of self-driving cars was introduced, companies like Uber, Google and Tesla have been trying to launch their self-driving cars in the market. Self-driving cars are a great innovation but have various technical issues. There is no safety parameter when it comes to self-driving cars. These cars are fully machine dominated and there is no clear parameter about how safe these cars are.
At the federal level in the US, guidelines in place are voluntary and the law varies across the state. If companies launching self-driving cars ever define parameters, there’s no guarantee if they will be measurable or not. Human controlled cars are already considered not the safest. We can only imagine the number of accidents that can take place if all cars are automated. Companies still cannot define how safe self-driving cars can be. Are they 10% or 100% safer compared to traditional cars?
Also, claiming that self-driving cars are safe
would require driving them for miles. Self-driving cars are expensive at the same time. Since these cars are expensive, researchers are thinking of different ways to prove their safety.
Self-driving cars are still not introduced extensively in the market, however, soon they might be. So where will you ask your car to take you for the first ride?