The role of AI in self-driving cars

The article discusses the use of artificial intelligence in the autonomous driving industry. It covers topics such as using deep learning and computer vision for vehicle detection, Waymo's impact-absorbing technology, Audi's driverless racecar, and Ford's night vision technology. The article concludes by stating that the race for innovation among car industry giants has led to impressive developments and the hope that driverless vehicles will become accessible for the masses.

It seemed to be a distant, futuristic dream, but the reality of it being common is getting closer and closer by. Even though it’s not an everyday sight on the road, self-driving technology for cars is ready to be used. Artificial intelligence has been one of the key features to achieve success for self- driving cars. With the help of artificial intelligence car manufacturers all over the world are competing to get the coolest features on their vehicles. So where are we right now? How far has the autonomous driving industry gotten with the help of AI? Here are some of the most exciting developments that have been achieved by using artificial intelligence in the industry of autonomous driving.  

The tech behind the car

First of all, it’s crucial to understand how developers benefit from artificial intelligence for their vehicles. Car tech developers mainly rely on deep learning and computer vision. Computer vision allows the vehicle to detect other cars, trucks, pedestrians, cyclists and other objects surrounding them. Deep learning makes it possible for the car’s tech system to make important decisions like navigation by combining the different sensors and camera systems. This is because deep learning consists of using a neural network that functions in a similar way to the human brain. This human-like way of processing means that the system in the vehicle is able to make complex decisions with accurate outcomes.

Absorbing impact

One of the problems that have faced the success of self-driving cars is the concern about safety issues. Enter Waymo, a business that used to be part of Google. The car company might have found a solution for the safety hazards of autonomous driving. They’ve developed a system in the vehicle that absorbs impact in case of collision with other objects. This technology is able to recognize if the car is colliding with a person or another object in its surrounding. So instead of harming the pedestrian or object they come across with, the car softens in the part of collision, minimizing the impact as much as possible.

A driverless racecar

One of the common misconceptions when it comes to autonomous driving is that the vehicles would drive slowly in order to be safer. While it is true for some car manufacturers who prefer a slower car, Audi has completely proven this stereotype to be wrong. The industry giant provided its RS7 Sportback model with a system to make the car run driverless. At the Hockenheim Formula 1 racetrack, the vehicle proved to be only ten seconds slower than it’s human-driven competitor, reaching a top speed of 305 kilometers an hour. Audi representatives have said that the car has a map which detects the left and right boundaries of the track and takes this into consideration to calculate the optimal racing line across the track.

Night vision

Another fascinating development is how Ford has managed to generate driverless cars that can see in complete darkness without using the help of any streetlights. The night-vision vehicle uses radars to emit 2.8 million laser pulses a second to build a 3D map of its surroundings. This way the car can drive around all by itself using this night vision, scanning all objects around.

While self-driving vehicles aren’t an every item yet, the developments in the autonomous driving industry have been impressive. With the help of advanced artificial intelligence systems, it seems as if there’s a race for innovation among car industry giants. The next step would be for driverless vehicles to become accessible for the masses!

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Published on
June 20, 2023
Philip Gast

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