3 Steps Towards Automated Vehicles

It is exciting to see that Nissan is leading the way with autonomous vehicles .  While I do think we are a long way from complete automation, the benefits to the everyday driver are already evident. There are automation technologies available today that are pieces of the autonomous puzzle.

Adaptive Cruise Control – The Adaptive Cruise allows the drive to set a speed and the vehicle will accelerate and brake as needed. Lasers are used to measure surrounding objects and vehicles. For example, if you set your cruise at 65 MPH on the interstate and you come up on a vehicle going 55 mph, the adaptive cruise slows the vehicle down to 55 mph and keeps a safe distance from the vehicle. If you steer into a lane with no traffic ahead or the vehicle going 55 mph pulls off, the adaptive cruise goes back up to 65 mph. The driver only has to steer. The braking and accelerating are completely automated.

Accidence Avoidance – This is typically packaged together with Adaptive Cruise Control. In the event that the driver is not paying attention and a vehicle in front of them is either stopped or traveling at a significantly reduced speed, the vehicle will alert the driver that an impending accident is possible and if the driver doesn’t react the vehicle will preemptively brake to either avoid or minimize the speed at impact.

Around View Monitor -Cameras, cameras, cameras – Nissan has a technology called Around View Monitor that allows the driver to see completely around the vehicle on the screen. With these cameras and lasers from above the driver can see completely around the entire vehicle.

Many of you will have read about Google self driving vehicles. While they have been involved in a few accidents, the accidents were always the other drivers errors.

The engineers, that are working on autonomous vehicles, biggest challenge is trying to figure out the unpredictable nature of humans. We are still at least a decade away from fully autonomous vehicles being mainstream.  However, we are becoming safer every day as engineers develop ways to help us overcome our shortcomings. Technology will help the vehicle react when we take our eyes of the road, are not paying attention, talking or texting on a phone, or any number of situations that make our roads dangerous.

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