Why Car Companies Have Different Visions For Self Driving Cars

self driving cars

Different Visions For Self Driving Cars

Development of a self driving cars is a  goal that has been taken up by almost all major automakers. This follows the long hard developments of Google and others in their quest to develop self driving cars. Over the last year, almost all automakers claimed that they will be launching automobiles with self-driving features in the near future, at least in the major cities of Detroit and others. However, the vision of self driving cars that Google had, and that of automakers are wildly different.

The Gradual Approach

The automakers are evolving their features see this happening over a long period of time. Gradually adding more and more features so that the software in the vehicle achieves the needs of the human occupant. In this way, autonomous automobiles will take a longer time to pave the way to complete independence from human operators.

Tech’s Approach

Tech companies like Google and Uber see the development of self-driving automobiles as a single step so they can bring out vehicles driving themselves all at once. This will be specifically beneficial to ride-hailing services like Uber who recently tested on the streets of San Francisco. The vehicles seemed to have some problems with bicyclists and response times. These tests are to be continued in Arizona. This came after California’s DMV notified Uber to get these vehicles off the bike filled streets of San Francisco.

Regardless of the tech company’s development of these revolutionary features, automakers are bent on sticking to their gradual approach towards this development path for autonomous automobiles. However, at the recent CES (Consumer Electronics Show), most carmakers had their latest designs and prototypes on display and announced their plans to produce such vehicles within a year.  

Automaker’s Method

The first step in the automaker’s views is to introduce features such as advanced cruise control that will allow the vehicles to detect objects and modify its speed and direction, regardless of the object. Be it an approaching car or a pedestrian or a stationary roadside object. They are using a five-level system which was first introduced by SAE international. The step described above is level 1 for the transition of vehicles to self-driving. Level 2 gives the vehicle’s ability to stay in its own lane. Partially automated systems will constitute step 3 and 4, while full automation in the system will be step 5.

The Right Path

Nevertheless, the main question here is whether the tech companies or the automakers are on the right path to properly achieve automation in cars safely. Uber and Waymo are working to produce self-driven cars without using what appears to be a more measured approach like the automakers. Weighing in on the argument going on about letting cars shift from human control to automation. The idea of complete automation of vehicles abruptly gives rise to a potential safety hazard.

Author: Ayesha Siddique is a mechanical engineering student currently in her junior year. She has an obsession for automobiles and makeup.
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