The Technology Behind Autonomous Driving

Innovations in car technology have not ceased. That’s why car dealers like cars Scottsdale are enthusiastic to promote new car models every year. It is the new technology behind every new car that makes people want to see more.

The current development shows in which direction mobility could go in the future: autonomous driving should be safer, improve road use and traffic efficiency and reduce emissions. With autonomous vehicles, an Uber-like taxi service is possible and cities also benefit towards a more sustainable urban life.

Autonomous driving is no longer an idea

Autonomous driving is no longer an idea: In some countries, autonomous vehicles are driving. Cars use network services in many ways. Modern telematics is finding their way into more and more vehicles, highly developed driver assistance systems and online functions (V2X = Vehicle-to-Everything) are almost a reality.

Different sensor types combined = sensor fusion

Modern vehicles can hardly do without sensors and the sensors are becoming smaller, lighter, and cheaper. Installed in assistance systems, they make driving safer, both for the driver and for other road users. As they become more widespread, they will become cheaper, which means that they can be installed in more and more vehicles.

The ultrasonic technology in vehicles is already mature and the corresponding sensors are inexpensive and easy to use. Due to the propagation characteristics of sound, ultrasonic sensors only work over short distances and at low speeds, for example in parking assistants or to detect blind spots.

Since radar sensors have been installed within in-vehicle technology, they have become an important part of driver assistance systems. They can detect stationary and moving objects at short, medium, and long distances and provide important information such as distance, angle, and speed. Unlike optical sensors such as LiDAR and cameras, radar sensors are significantly less affected by weather and lighting conditions. Due to this immunity to interference, they are often used in safety-relevant applications such as adaptive cruise control, collision avoidance systems, and emergency brake assistants.

Radar systems in vehicles for short distances are currently operated in two frequency bands: in the K-band at 24 GHz and in the W-band at 79 GHz. However, the use of the lower frequency range in the K-band in Europe for new vehicles will be phased out from 2022 to protect other users of the 24 GHz band from interference. The move to the higher frequency not only relieves the lower frequency band of mutual interference but also offers a number of other benefits. The higher frequency allows for smaller sensors, better spatial resolution, and wider operating bandwidths.

Read also: Digitization and Technology in DB Transport

Laser and infrared sensors in the vehicle

Optical systems continue to evolve towards smaller cameras with higher resolutions and towards stereoscopic cameras. They are used wherever radar sensors cannot detect or classify objects. Camera sensors are relatively inexpensive but require a lot of computing power. They deliver good images when the weather and lighting conditions are favorable, but the image quality is often inadequate when the weather and lighting conditions are unfavorable.

The use of laser (LiDAR) and infrared sensors in vehicles is currently being discussed. Their disadvantage is that they are still relatively expensive, which is why both techniques are still used relatively little. LiDAR sensors deliver high-resolution 3D images that are essential for autonomous driving.

Unfortunately, like cameras, they are quite sensitive to weather conditions. Infrared sensors, on the other hand, deliver good images even at night. For widespread use of in-vehicle technology, however, these two technologies still have to drop significantly in price.