An Autonomous Car
For the past twenty years, the automobile industry and research organizations have aimed to make fully autonomous cars run on the roads.
These cars, which can circulate without driver intervention, simultaneously use several sensors and artificial intelligence technologies that allow them to detect the environment, merge the information obtained to analyze it, decide on an action and implement it.
This transport revolution, announced in 2020, presents many technological and legislative issues and challenges.
WHAT IS AN AUTONOMOUS CAR?
An autonomous car means a car whose driving is partially or fully automated.
There are different levels of autonomy, some of which are already very common and used. For example, anti-lock braking systems (ABS) are the first level of range for a vehicle. In total, the classification established by the international SAE * has 5 levels.
Determining the level of an autonomous vehicle requires answering four specific questions:
- Who of the Man or the machine ensures the longitudinal and/or lateral control of the vehicle?
- Who monitors the environment?
- Who ensures safety in the event of a failure?
- What is the perimeter of circulation?
The different levels of autonomy of a car
Manual driving. All tasks are carried out by Man.
Driving assistance: co-management of the control of the car by the user and the machine. Examples of level 1 autonomy devices also a “foot off ” system.
Partially automated driving: the car’s trajectory (longitudinal and lateral movements) is provided by the machine. With a level 2 car, the driver can temporarily release the steering wheel as long as he remains alert to his driving environment.
Example: automatic centering in the track. This type of system is also called a “hands-off ” system. They have become common in current cars.
Conditionally automated driving: the trajectory is managed automatically and the car is able to monitor its driving environment and has the capacity to alert the driver if a situation requiring its immediate and imperative recovery occurs.
Under certain conditions, this level of autonomy allows the driver to temporarily and briefly look away from the road. For example, during traffic jams, certain cars make it possible to entrust the monitoring of the road to computer software.
The car moves on its own keeps the safety distances and stays in its lane. Once out of traffic jams, the car warns the driver who must take back the wheel. This type of system is also called as “eyes off” system.
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Highly automated driving: the trajectory is managed automatically and the car monitors its environment to guarantee safety even in the event of a failure or unforeseen event.
Automation of driving remains limited to certain roads such as motorways and conventional weather conditions, however.
Level 4 cars completely exempt the driver from any vigilance and allow him to engage in tasks other than driving such as watching a film or working on a screen.
These systems are also called “mind off “. Level 4 cars are not yet on the roads and are still in prototype form.
Fully automated driving: the car is fully automated on all types of roads.