Over the past few decades, we’ve moved from very basic adaptive cruise control systems to Level 3 autonomous driving. The latter basically drives the car without requiring any input from behind the steering wheel. This level of assistance has yet to materialize (at least legally), but remains incredibly exciting. So this is his one of the most notable automotive tech to watch this year. For better or worse, Tesla is currently leading the charge in “fully self-driving” (FSD), but this is still hampered by legal bureaucracy. Just last year, Elon said that FSD-equipped Teslas would be able to drive themselves with safety levels much higher than the average human.

Other automakers will follow Elon with their own systems. One of his most notable is General Motors with its subscription-based Supercruise and Ultracruise technology. Innovation in this area is progressing at breakneck speed and shows no signs of stopping. But automakers must balance the need for innovation with driver safety.

How It Started vs. How It’s Going

Driver assistance began in 1948 when Ralph Teetor (the same engineer who worked on automatic transmissions) invented cruise control. The epiphany for such a crazy idea came while he was riding with a lawyer who kept speeding up and down while he was talking. The automation of the driving process began with the implementation of cruise control in the 1960s. The first iteration was pretty high-tech for its time. It was able to calculate wheel speed via the driveshaft and adjust the throttle input mechanically via an electric motor connected to the throttle pedal.

Tesla is currently leading an extended trial of FSD technology through a pool of pre-selected test drivers. FSD currently controls the vehicle when the driver enters a waypoint into the navigation system. The controversy surrounding this technology is that the person behind the wheel must be able to intervene if necessary. misleading.this problem too It presents moral and legal questions as to whether these systems should be developed in real time on public roads.

Mercedes Lilienthal, automotive journalist and PR/marketing consultant for automotive companies, said: While these systems have come a long way, both Lilienthal and I agree that existing technology that allows drivers to focus on the road ahead should be maintained. Fully autonomous driving on highways sounds great, but driving in cities poses far greater challenges for pedestrians, especially cyclists. of these unmanned systems. Avoiding pedestrians and cyclists is especially important to stay on track as you will have to share the road.

GM is one of several automotive groups trying to do something different with its Super Cruise system. Unlike his FSD, which the driver can use anywhere at will, the Super Cruise can only be used on highways pre-mapped with cameras and GPS data. This is the safest environment for testing these types of systems. Highways are relatively predictable and generally free of pedestrians and cyclists.

GM’s less aggressive approach to data collection means Super Cruise (SC) will inherently evolve more slowly. Late last year, however, GM announced his Ultra Cruise (UC). This will allow select luxury vehicles to enjoy the benefits of SC outside the pre-scanned highway network. UC also has built-in diagnostics that can identify when your system needs an upgrade. Automatically record incidents and send data back to GM’s data ecosystem. Being a Level 2.5 system, it requires the driver’s attention, but the alert will not be triggered if the driver takes his hands off the wheel. If it notices that something is wrong, it gradually slows the vehicle and activates the hazard lights.

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5 Levels of “Autonomous Driving”

To better describe the different levels of automated driving assistance, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) created a hierarchy in 2014. Technically, the list starts at level 0, but that simply means no driving assistance of any kind, so we left it there. out. Avid readers will know that Tesla and GM’s semi-autonomous driving systems sit between Levels 2 and 3. But one company called Waymo is actively testing Level 4 autonomous driving in its Chrysler Pacifica fleet in the Phoenix and San Francisco metropolitan areas. These vehicles can be driven on public roads without a human at the wheel and operate in a much smaller area. Most automakers plan to deploy Level 3 systems well before 2030.

1 (Driving assistance): At the lower end of the scale, this level refers to systems that can provide steering or braking assistance. A good example is radar cruise control. It can accelerate and brake, but must steer to keep the lane.

2 (partial driving automation): Level 2 driver assistance functions are very close to level 1. A distinctive feature is the ability to control the accelerator, brakes and brakes. When As long as the driver is holding the wheel or keeping their eyes on the road, they can hold the wheel.

3 (conditional driving automation): Level 3 autonomous driving is a goal many automakers are aiming to implement by 2022. CDA works much like Level 2. Wheels or eyes on the road. This level of autonomous driving is currently not legally permitted in the United States. Currently, the highest level of Autonomous Driving that can be obtained is between 2 and 3.

Four (high driving animation): Things get a little more complicated when it comes to level 4 autonomous driving. A Level 4 system operates the vehicle much like a Level 3 system, but does not require human intervention (even if there is a person in the driver’s seat). According to SAE, the technology is targeted for use in driverless taxis and public transportation. The big challenge is navigating safely in bad weather and dodging pedestrians and cyclists.

Five (fully automated driving): The final level of automation, the fifth, is the easiest to understand and the most complex. These vehicles operate 100% autonomously, independent of weather and geofencing rules.

Towards a nervous future

A number of automakers, including Tesla, have hinted at fully self-driving cars being shattered in the next few years. It is in the automaker’s best interests to be the first to have a working self-driving system. However, while these complex technologies are advancing rapidly, they still do not happen overnight.

It’s no surprise that Tesla’s first innovations came at a breakneck pace. But a myriad of incidents of what has been described as the brand’s rather “creative” marketing have raised questions, prompting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to launch his August 2021 investigation into the company’s deceptive marketing practices. became. Going forward, these semi-autonomous systems are very exciting. However, there must be a balance between innovation and safety.

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