Robotic vehicles may seem like a thing of the future, but technology for driverless cars is advancing very quickly. Self driving cars are able to navigate using many sensors such as lidar, radar, odometry, sonar, and inertial measurement. These sensors are used to identify paths, obstacles, and signs. Although it may seem like autonomous vehicles are just being discovered, research on these vehicles has been going on since the 1920s.
There are many challenges that come along with developing self driving vehicles. Things like navigation, location, paths, sensor perception, and vehicle control are all things that are still being researched to improve. The technology needed to operate these vehicles requires deep learning networks that operate to essentially to replace a human brain. The data used to create this deep learning is collected from various trials conducted with real life driving.
There are many benefits to autonomous vehicles. Things like safety, cost, parking space, and traffic will be improved, not to mention how cool it would be to sit back, relax and have a meal while the vehicle does the driving. Safety will be greatly improved as it will eliminate human error. Safety would also be improved as traffic patterns would be more regular. Higher speed limits and decreased traffic congestion would reduce the rate of accidents. One thing that many people don't think about is how little their vehicle is actually used. On average cars are only used 5% of the time. With autonomous vehicles, owners could in theory rent out their vehicles for the time they are not being used. Tesla is already gathering data to put a system in place for this.
It seems as though there is still a lot of work to do to bring autonomous vehicles to the masses. Policy, law and public views on the technology would need to advance. Industries such as the taxi, health care and insurance would see many changes and many jobs will be displaced. We need to come up with solutions for these problems quicker then our technology is advancing. But how cool would it be to see driverless cars!