Published On: Wed, Apr 24th, 2019

Self-Driving Cars Are Like Teens, Both Need Practice

If there’s anything similar between teens and self-driving cars, it’s the fact that both need the practice to learn how to drive properly. The two start with zero experience, and accumulate knowledge and experience allows them to hone their skills and turn into better drivers.

Studies show that teens are more excited than ever to own a car, but they need some form of driving education first before hitting the roads. You may have learned how to drive from a teacher or your parent, starting with the basics and learning the most common traffic laws. Once you have the basics pinned down, you develop your driving skills by constantly encountering a diverse range of possibilities on actual roadways. This is what allows you to react according to the situation and do so in the safest manner possible.

The same holds true for driverless vehicles. First, they are programmed with basic driving knowledge. They learn that red means stop, and green means go. The fundamentals you’ve learned from classroom education are taught to autonomous vehicles as well. But after that, they need to hit the roads to learn the best way to drive without human intervention. This is made possible using artificial intelligence. Constant machine learning is at work in these vehicles, which allows them to draw from experience and learn how to adapt to circumstances and formulate informed decisions.

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photo/ Michael Jarmoluk via pixabay.com

To emulate the human senses, self-driving cars are equipped with sensors that allow them to “see” and process what goes on around them. These prove to be more complex than the car parts you can find at 247Spares, but they’re the lifeblood of autonomous vehicles. From radar that measures distances between cars and other obstacles to cameras that detect people, traffic signs, and objects, these technological elements are continuously learning with more time on the road. As of now, the total on-road miles driven by driverless cars pale in comparison to the number of miles humans drive every day.

And no matter how advanced the sensors and cameras are, they’re far from perfect. Working optimally in the dark proves to be challenging. This is one of the main reasons why self-driving cars have been involved in accidents at night. It gets harder to detect and distinguish the things around the vehicle, which might cause the vehicle to mistake a person for a car or another obstacle.

The good news is that self-driving cars are logging in more and more miles on the road. The developers themselves know that something as fundamental as practice can dictate the success of self-driving car deployment in the future. Just like human drivers, driverless vehicles need more experience to enable it to deal with unexpected circumstances and inevitable road conditions.

Developers are constantly testing their vehicles on controlled roads, but it would be more interesting to see these cars operate in real-world conditions. This is the only way to ensure that the technology that powers the cars is as foolproof as possible. Evidently, the tech needs more time. Figuring out how long it takes is anyone’s guess, but patiently waiting for the technology to mature can prove worth it if it can eliminate human error.

Author: Matthew Perry

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