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A self-driving car, also known as an autonomous car, driver-less car, or robotic car (robo-car), is a car that is capable of traveling without human input. Self-driving cars use sensors to perceive their surroundings, such as optical and thermographic cameras, radar, lidar, ultrasound/sonar, GPS, odometry and inertial measurement units. Control systems interpret sensory information to create a three-dimensional model of the surroundings. Based on the model, the car identifies appropriate navigation paths, and strategies for managing traffic controls (stop signs, etc.) and obstacles.
As of December 2022[update], vehicles operating at Level 3 and above were an insignificant market factor. In December 2020, Waymo became the first service provider to offer driver-less taxi rides to the general public, in a part of Phoenix, Arizona. In March 2021, Honda was the first manufacturer to sell a legally approved Level 3 car. Nuro began autonomous commercial delivery operations in California in 2021. In December 2021, Mercedes-Benz received approval for a Level 3 car. In February 2022, Cruise became the second service provider to offer driver-less taxi rides to the general public, in San Francisco.
In November 2017, Waymo announced that it had begun testing driver-less cars without a safety driver in the driver position; however, there was still an employee in the car. An October 2017 report by the Brookings Institution found that the $80 billion had been reported as invested in all facets of self driving technology up to that point, but that it was "reasonable to presume that total global investment in autonomous vehicle technology is significantly more than this".
In October 2018, Waymo announced that its test vehicles had traveled in automated mode for over 10,000,000 miles (16,000,000 km), increasing by about 1,000,000 miles (1,600,000 kilometres) per month. In December 2018, Waymo was the first to commercialize a fully autonomous taxi service in the US, in Phoenix, Arizona. In October 2020, Waymo launched a geo-fenced driver-less ride hailing service in Phoenix. The cars are being monitored in real-time by a team of remote engineers, and there are cases where the remote engineers need to intervene.
There is not a vehicle currently available to US consumers that is self-driving. Period. Every vehicle sold to US consumers still requires the driver to be actively engaged in the driving task, even when advanced driver assistance systems are activated. If you are selling a car with an advanced driver assistance system, you're not selling a self-driving car. If you are driving a car with an advanced driver assistance system, you don't own a self-driving car.
On 5 March 2021, Honda began leasing in Japan a limited edition of 100 Legend Hybrid EX sedans equipped with the newly approved Level 3 automated driving equipment which had been granted the safety certification by Japanese government to their autonomous "Traffic Jam Pilot" driving technology, and legally allow drivers to take their eyes off the road.
Modern vehicles provide features such as keeping the car within its lane, speed controls, or emergency braking. Those features alone are just considered as driver assistance technologies because they still require a human driver control while fully automated vehicles drive themselves without human driver input.
For this reason, some organizations such as the AAA try to provide standardized naming conventions for features such as ALKS which aim to have capacity to manage the driving task, but which are not yet approved to be an automated vehicles in any countries. The Association of British Insurers considers the usage of the word autonomous in marketing for modern cars to be dangerous because car ads make motorists think "autonomous" and "autopilot" mean a vehicle can drive itself when they still rely on the driver to ensure safety. Technology able to drive a car is still in its beta stage.
Some car makers suggest or claim vehicles are self-driving when they are not able to manage some driving situations. Despite being called Full Self-Driving, Tesla stated that its offering should not be considered as a fully autonomous driving system. This makes drivers risk becoming excessively confident, taking distracted driving behavior, leading to crashes. While in Great-Britain, a fully self-driving car is only a car registered in a specific list. There have also been proposals to adopt the aviation automation safety knowledge into the discussions of safe implementation of autonomous vehicles, due to the experience that has been gained over the decades by the aviation sector on safety topics.
As of 2017[update], most commercial projects focused on automated vehicles that did not communicate with other vehicles or with an enveloping management regime. Euro NCAP defines autonomous in "Autonomous Emergency Braking" as: "the system acts independently of the driver to avoid or mitigate the accident", which implies the autonomous system is not the driver.
PC Magazine defines a self-driving car as "a computer-controlled car that drives itself". The Union of Concerned Scientists states that self-driving cars are "cars or trucks in which human drivers are never required to take control to safely operate the vehicle. Also known as autonomous or "driver-less" cars, they combine sensors and software to control, navigate, and drive the vehicle."
In the formal SAE definition below, an important transition is from SAE Level 2 to SAE Level 3 in which the human driver is no longer expected to monitor the environment continuously. At SAE 3, the human driver still has responsibility to intervene when asked to do so by the automated system. At SAE 4 the human driver is always relieved of that responsibility and at SAE 5 the automated system will never need to ask for an intervention.
Sensor fusionControl systems on automated cars may use sensor fusion, which is an approach that integrates information from a variety of sensors on the car to produce a more consistent, accurate, and useful view of the environment. Self-driving cars tend to use a combination of cameras, LiDAR sensors, and radar sensors in order to enhance performance and ensure the safety of the passenger and other drivers on the road. An increased consistency in self-driving performance prevents accidents that may occur because of one faulty sensor.
Driver monitoring system is a vehicle safety system to assess the driver's alertness and warn the driver if needed. It is recognized in developer side that the role of the systems will increase as SAE Level 2 systems become more common-place, and becomes more challenging at Level 3 and above to predict the driver's readiness for handover.
Other obstacles could include de-skilling and lower levels of driver experience for dealing with potentially dangerous situations and anomalies, ethical problems where an automated vehicle's software is forced during an unavoidable crash to choose between multiple harmful courses of action (the trolley problem), concerns about making large numbers of people currently employed as drivers unemployed, the potential for more intrusive mass surveillance of location, association and travel as a result of police and intelligence agency access to large data sets generated by sensors and pattern-recognition AI, and possibly insufficient understanding of verbal sounds, gestures and non-verbal cues by police, other drivers or pedestrians.
Moving obstaclesSelf-driving cars are already exploring the difficulties of determining the intentions of pedestrians, bicyclists, and animals, and models of behavior must be programmed into driving algorithms. Human road users also have the challenge of determining the intentions of autonomous vehicles, where there is no driver with which to make eye contact or exchange hand signals. Drive.ai is testing a solution to this problem that involves LED signs mounted on the outside of the vehicle, announcing status such as "going now, don't cross" vs. "waiting for you to cross".
Handover and risk compensationTwo human-factor challenges are important for safety. One is the handover from automated driving to manual driving.Human factors research on automated systems has shown that people are slow to detect a problem with automation and slow to understand the problem after it is detected. When automation failures occur, unexpected transitions that require a driver to take over will occur suddenly and the driver may not be ready to take over.
TrustIn order for people to buy self-driving cars and vote for the government to allow them on roads, the technology must be trusted as safe. Self-driving elevators were invented in 1900, but the high number of people refusing to use them slowed adoption for several decades until operator strikes increased demand and trust was built with advertising and features like the emergency stop button. There are three types of trust between human and automation. There is dispositional trust, the trust between the driver and the company's product; there is situational trust, or the trust from different scenarios; and there is learned trust where the trust is built between similar events.
Robotaxi is an application of self-driving car which is supposed to be operated by taxi company or ridesharing company. Through the massive investments by Big Tech companies in the mid-2010s, research and development of robotaxi became active in the U.S.
The testing of vehicles with varying degrees of automation can be carried out either physically, in a closed environment or, where permitted, on public roads (typically requiring a license or permit, or adhering to a specific set of operating principles), or in a virtual environment, i.e. using computer simulations.When driven on public roads, automated vehicles require a person to monitor their proper operation and "take over" when needed. For example, New York has strict requirements for the test driver, such that the vehicle can be corrected at all times by a licensed operator; highlighted by Cardian Cube Company's application and discussions with New York State officials and the NYS DMV. 153554b96e