Autonomous driving with confidence

March 08, 2018 // By Christoph Wagner and Holger Rosier
The vision of "autonomous driving" promises users exceptional mobility and travel comfort. The prerequisite is that diverse components and functions reliably interact in a coordinated manner without errors. It will only be possible to turn this idea into reality when all market players reach a consensus, when highly reliable components are available and when multi-vendor interoperability is a given.

Autonomous driving, in which the user hands full control over to the vehicle, is attracting an increasing amount of attention. Almost daily, car manufacturers announce market-ready vehicles sporting the very latest automation features. Autonomous driving promises users more safety and comfort, while society benefits from sustainable mobility and improved traffic efficiency. At the same time, it is expected that accidents will be reduced. Targeted public policies in many countries will support this initiative.

This major challenge not only requires the melding of various sensor technologies, including radar, cameras and lidar, but also precise location determination and highly accurate map material. This information is updated continuously by using cellular technologies with backend servers to network vehicles. Enhanced data exchange between multivendor vehicles will add cooperative elements to autonomous driving. Predictive route and maneuver planning substantially improves safety, comfort and efficiency. This is particularly important during poor weather conditions that impair onboard sensors.

 

From consensus to cooperation

Today, mobility is undergoing the greatest transformation since the car replaced the horse and carriage. Until just recently, auto manufacturers and their direct suppliers dominated the market. Today, completely different industries are involved. The primary objective of these industries is to play a key role in paving the way for autonomous driving. Sensors are important components in self-driving cars and are already used for various driver assistance functions such as park assist and adaptive cruise control. These functions will mature even further in the future and become intertwined until they are capable of independently keeping a car within a lane, changing lanes, detecting other road users and obstacles in a timely fashion and responding appropriately. However, many critical traffic situations cannot be resolved effectively without communicating with the environment itself. In heavy traffic, the ability to recognize intent is key to cooperative execution of complex traffic maneuvers, such as changing lanes in moving traffic or merging onto the roadway. Cellular systems make it possible to communicate this intent. In order for cars to drive themselves in the future and to be able to relieve drivers of full liability in the mid-term, everyone involved in the value chain, including those from the extended market environment, has to come to a consensus.

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