Autonomous Driving as a Way to Avoid Accidents While Intoxicated

Self-driving car is like a robotic or an autonomous car where the car goes on autopilot on the roads with little human intervention. They are equipped with different kinds of sensors to make them aware of their surroundings, in turn making them smarter. They also use artificial intelligence to accomplish this task. They have many of sensors which help them to be wary of their surroundings. They include radars, cameras, GPS, ultrasonic sensors, so on and so forth. These sensors help them to navigate to user’s preferred destination and avoid obstacles on the way.

Artificial intelligence is the principal concept that is powering the car enabling it to become selfless. Machine learning along with neural networks use image recognition to develop systems that can enable a true robotic car. Neural networks are used to identify the surroundings by identifying the patterns in the data fed by the image recognition software captured through cameras. Its trained to identify surroundings like humans, animals, trees, signals, so on and so forth that are essential for driving on a road.

Ex: Google’s self driving waymo uses Lidar and sonars to train the neural net about the surroundings and also predict the future movements of those surroundings. The more the system gets trained the more it identifies its surroundings.

It functions just as a human body where we have a brain telling us what to do in each situation, the car has AI which tells it to steer, brake or accelerate that is assisted by GPS, which uses satellite to pinpoint the position of the car.

Hence we can observe that the system is continuously learning through the neural net and equipping itself with the knowledge required for self driving from the past few years, getting better than their predecessors with time.

The benefits of automated driving are many. Here are few of them:

  • Fewer Accidents

The leading cause of today’s accidents is driver error. Drunk driving, driving under the influence of drugs, underage driving, inattentiveness, so on and so forth all contribute to accidents. Majority of the accidents is due to human error, Hence autonomous driving, if implemented, significantly reduces the rate of accidents. A study online has also found out that if 10 percent of the cars are autonomous, then 210,000 accidents will be avoided annually.

  • Decreased traffic congestion

There will be less traffic congestion as there will be less human error and the traffic will flow freely with the required spacing between the cars.

  • Welfare

Automated cars could reduce labour costs, reduce driving time and hence provide more time to the person for leisure or work. It provides enhanced mobility for the young, old, and for people with disabilities

  • Increased parking space

Automated driving vehicles can be continuously used rather than being stationary for an extended period of time. For example, in Los Angeles, 14% of the land is used for parking alone,[118] equivalent to some 17,020,594 square meters.

The following are the three components that I think represented unproven technology at the time of the space shuttle’s development.

Space Shuttle Engine. The space shuttle or the Orbitter is connected externally to a large fuel tank powering 3 main engines and 2 rocket boosters. Here each engine produces about 400,000 pounds of pressure. These engines were not made to be reusable. Those engines were designed to disintegrate after the engine delivering the burst of thrust. The engine had to be designed for the heavy load and a highly efficient cooling system had to be implemented for smooth operation. This was unproved at that point of time.

Avionics flight control software. During the development of the space shuttle, a new software component was developed to the run the control algorithms on a set of 32-bit processors. The Shuttle was the most complex flying machine ever built and required sophisticated software to ensure a successful operation. The software was responsible for the flight to be directed to the destination and back. It was also the main component during landing and takeoff. The number of lines increased drastically with each function of the shuttle and since this was the main controlling factor during take off and landing. There was a lot of concerns on this part of the shuttle. Since it was not proven before , This was unheard of during the development of space shuttle.

Thermal protection system. A space shuttle’s reentry into earth’s atmosphere is one of the most dangerous part of the mission because the temperature generated due to the friction.

In the initial development, NASA was counting thermal protection tiles. Everyone was familiar with creating a body made of aluminum for a space shuttle but not with thermal tiles. Hence it was still unproven at that time. NASA was confident about the thermal tiles. They were told that it could withstand the heat that was generated. After carrying out a number of tests they decided to use it on the shuttle. Hence this was one of the technologies that was unused at that time.

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