In this modern age, many people still think that driverless cars, otherwise called autonomous cars, robotic cars, or self-driving cars, only exist in science fiction movies. Although that may hold true in some ways, many may not realise that many cars are already fitted with automated car control systems. Let’s delve down into these systems below:
1. Adaptive Cruise Control System
Many of us may already be very familiar with the cruise control system, also called auto cruise. We simply pre-set the cruising speed we want to maintain over a long highway, activate the cruise control via a switch, and then let the cruise control system take control of the throttle. Many may not have realised it, but the auto cruise is a form of driverless technology that’s integrated into many automobile control systems.
An adaptive cruise control system, or an ACC system, is a more advanced form of the auto cruise system. What the ACC system does is maintain a constant speed as pre-set by the driver and maintains a safe distance from a slower moving car in front. This is achieved with the aid of laser sensors mounted at the front of the car.
2. Absolute Braking System
The Absolute Braking System (ABS), or an Electronic Braking Distribution System (EBD System) by some manufacturers, may not be something new to many of us, but this is also a form of driverless technology. This system prevents any wheel lock-ups during sudden-braking situations. Although some very skilled drivers could do this anyway, the ABS system does it much better and quicker than any human driver could during emergency evasive manoeuvres. This makes driving a much safer experience and, never forgetting the car insurance, should be a much cheaper one, too.
3. Traction Control or Stability Control System
This system, although currently available only in luxury car models, is a state-of-the-art vehicle safety system that takes control of the automobile, via a complex network of sensors and computer control units, in situations when the vehicle is about to go out of control, such as in an oversteer or an understeer situation. The traction control then tries to stabilise the vehicle by lowering or increasing engine power while at the same time applying the appropriate brake forces for each wheel and auto-correcting the steering wheel inputs. What’s so fascinating about this system is that it can do all of this auto-correcting in just a fraction of a second- a feat that is impossible for a human driver to do.
4. Driverless Parking Guidance System
This system is one of the most-advanced breakthroughs in automobile technology, and as yet this system can only be seen in some ultra-luxury cars. This system recreates that a human driver would do when trying to park a car. However, this technology is still far from perfect, but it’s definitely a great leap towards fully driverless cars.
Even with the above-mentioned breakthroughs in automobile control technology, the concept of a fully driverless car still doesn’t sit well with most people. The reason is that people, in general, really do like to drive and have full control over their cars whether on a city-driving situation or on a coast-to-coast drive. Nevertheless, the age of driverless cars is fast approaching.