Autonomous Vehicles

Whenever you hear that a car is autonomous you would think that yes the car can drive itself to a certain place i just don’t need to touch the steering wheel and i can easily sleep, watch movies or even play games while the car drives me to my location right?
But this is not true yet.

Actually there are a total of 6 levels of autonomy as below:

Level 0: Manually driving a car.
Level 1: Certain systems, such as cruise control or automatic braking, may be controlled by the car, one at a time
Level 2: The car offers at least two simultaneous automated functions, like acceleration and steering, but requires humans for safe operation
Level 3: The car can manage all safety-critical functions under certain conditions, but the driver is expected to take over when alerted
Level 4: The car is fully-autonomous in some driving scenarios, though not all
Level 5: The car is completely capable of self-driving in every situation

And by far the car with the highest level of autonomy in the market is just level 3 autonomous.
Even Tesla’s are just level 2 autonomous vehicles!!!
Although many companies have made deals to bring level 4 autonomous cars to the market.

So what are the pros and cons of autonomous vehicles?

1) Convenience: One obvious advantage of autonomous vehicles is that you don’t have to focus on driving and thus you can play games, sleep, or get some work done while the car is driving itself to the location.
It can even enable mobility to those people who are disabled and can’t drive manual vehicles!!
2) Safety : 94% of serious crashes are due to human error. But in a self-driving car there will be no or mostly less human intervention thus the number of crashes will drastically reduce.
3)Economic And Societal Benefits : A NHTSA(National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of US) study showed motor vehicle crashes in 2010 cost $242 billion in economic activity, including $57.6 billion in lost workplace productivity, and $594 billion due to loss of life and decreased quality of life due to injuries. Eliminating the vast majority of motor vehicle crashes could erase these costs.
4)Efficiency: Roads filled with automated vehicles could also cooperate to smooth traffic flow and reduce traffic congestion.A study stated that automated vehicles could free up as much as 50 minutes each day that had previously been dedicated to driving.

1)Job losses : Those who depend on driving to make a living may find their career obsolete with the introduction of self-driving cars. Those in the trucking industry, bus drivers, taxi drivers, will all need to find new employment.

2)Initial costs : While self-driving cars may produce significant societal cost-savings in the long-term, the initial cost of automated vehicles may be astronomical.

3) Software bugs and machine error : While self-driving cars eliminate the parts of the driving errors from humans, we can’t completely ignore the fact that the software which runs those cars is made by humans and humans tend to make mistakes.
Small bugs in codes might create havoc. Though the possibility of bugs are very less due to rigorous testing’s of autonomous vehicles.

Credits : Karan Shah​