Self-driving cars are also known as robot cars or autonomous cars. These are vehicles capable of sensing its environment and moving with little or no human input. They combine a variety of sensors to perceive their surroundings. Advance control systems interpret sensory information to identify appropriate navigation paths, as well as obstacles and relevant signage.
Potential benefits include:
- Reduced costs;
- Increased safety;
- Increased mobility;
- Increased customer satisfaction;
- Reduced crimes.
We are gradually moving into the autonomous cars’ future. There have been big examples of how the leading car manufacturers have this technology in their agendas and are moving forward to the common goal. Certain examples would be:
- In 2016 GM spent $581 million to acquire self-driving car start-up Cruise Automation and now they are building a new R&D facility for the same.
- Ford announced it is going to be investing $1 billion in Argo AI. Ford plans to combine the expertise of Argo AI and existing self-driving efforts to have a fully autonomous vehicle by 2021.
- Honda announced it was in discussions with Waymo, an independent company of Alphabet Inc., to include Waymo self-driving technology in their vehicles. The long-stated goals of Honda are to have cars that can at least drive themselves on highways by 2020.
- In 2015, Toyota started investing $ 1 billion over five years in the Toyota Research Institute to develop robotics and AI technology.
- Renault-Nissan is counting on their new partnership with Microsoft to help advance their autonomous car efforts. They have plans to release 10 different self-driving cars by 2020.
- Volvo entered into a $300 million joint venture with Uber to develop next-generation autonomous cars. Volvo is providing physical vehicles for Uber’s self-driving tests. They aim to have a car that can drive fully autonomously on the highway by 2021.