Dangerous challenges of self-driving autonomous cars

concernsautonomouscarsThe University of Ohio published an infographic about autonomous driving. The infographic shows some very important problems caused by self-driving cars. One problem is that sensors can degrade over time. Another problem is that some obstacles may not be detected. A major problem under scrutiny is liability and laws for safe autonomous vehicle travels.

The University of Ohio notes these major potential problems.

  1. Players in the AV sector must develop sensors that are easy to fix after failure.
  2. Detecting and avoiding obstacles are challenges that also require resolving via improvements in mapping technology among other technological facets.
  3. A third major problem is addressing legal challenges related to self-driving autos. A good example is the definition of terms such as “driver” and “operator,” which are currently grey zones in relation to AVs.

Sociocultural and Ethical Challenges

Another challenge is that all interested parties must ponder is the sociocultural and unpredictable impact of introducing AVs. For example, the pros and cons of programming driverless cars to avoid breaking traffic rules or jeopardizing human life. At the same time, ethical dilemmas such as the pros and cons of programming AVs to break or obey laws, coding AVs to handle no-win situations, hacking, consumer privacy and data losses must be reviewed thoroughly.

Proponents of autonomous vehicles (AVs) claim that this technology can improve traffic flow and safety, ease road travel hassles, and reduce car ownership. However, to achieve this goal, the AVs industry must first overcome certain legal, ethical and engineering challenges.

Self-driving technology hinges on four key components: mapping, light detection and ranging (lidar), sense-plan- act, as well as V2V and V2I communication. To start with, self-driving cars now depend on maps that contain features such as streets, curbs, road marks, roadblocks, streetlights, and road signs to help them navigate from one point to another. In addition, AVs use LIDAR systems to navigate. Unfortunately, LIDAR systems do not work well on surfaces with low reflectivity and are largely ineffective for long ranges. V2V (vehicle-to- vehicle) and V2I (vehicle-to- individual) communication allows AVs to transmit obstacle information to each other or operate as wirelessly linked vehicle platoons. Lastly, self-driving vehicles loop through sense-plan- act steps to ensure they do not stray from roads.

So far, no one vehicle maker has deployed all of these technologies into the car that works with the infrastructure around it because the infrastructure in cities does not exist, yet.

See full infographic.