Abstract of Robotic Car

The inventions of the integrated circuit (IC) and later, the microcomputer, were major factors in the development of electronic control in automobiles. The importance of the microcomputer cannot be overemphasized as it is the "brain" that controls many systems in today's cars. For example, in a cruise control system, the driver sets the desired speed and enables the system by pushing a button. A microcomputer then monitors the actual speed of the vehicle using data from velocity sensors. The actual speed is compared to the desired speed and the controller adjusts the throttle as necessary. A completely autonomous vehicle is one in which a computer performs all the tasks that the human driver normally would. Ultimately, this would mean getting in a car, entering the destination into a computer, and enabling the system. From there, the car would take over and drive to the destination with no human input. The car would be able to sense its environment and make steering and speed changes as necessary.

This scenario would require all of the automotive technologies mentioned above: lane detection to aid in passing slower vehicles or exiting a highway; obstacle detection to locate other cars, pedestrians, animals, etc.; adaptive cruise control to maintain a safe speed; collision avoidance to avoid hitting obstacles in the roadway; and lateral control to maintain the car's position on the roadway. In addition, sensors would be needed to alert the car to road or weather conditions to ensure safe traveling speeds. For example, the car would need to slow down in snowy or icy conditions. We perform many tasks while driving without even think ing about it. Completely automating the car is a challenging task and is a long way off. However, advances have been made in the individual systems.

Cruise control is common in cars today. Adaptive cruise control, in which the car slows if it detects a slower moving vehicle in front of it, is starting to be come available on higher-end models. In addition, some cars come equiped with sensors to determine if an obstacle is near and sounds an audible warning to the driver when it is too close. General Motors has stated that they will begin testing driverless cars by 2015, and . Volvo has begun to develop an almost-autonomous 'road train' system for highways which could be integrated in cars by 2020. Googles Robotic Car is a fully autonomous vehicle which is equipped with radar and LIDAR and such can take in much more information, process it much more quickly and reliably, make a correct decision about a complex situation, and then implement that decision far better than a human can.


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