How Do Self Driving Vehicles Work?

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Self Driving Vehicles

Autonomous driving is the current aim of much of the vehicle world – almost every vehicle-maker is working towards some form of self-driving. There is so much potential in semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles. Imagine being able to commute while being on calls and dealing with paperwork the whole time! Or make a cross-country move in a vehicle that you don’t have to spend hours behind the wheel in or ship via auto transport.

While these are the goals of many automakers, we’re still far from reaching them. How do these self-driving cars work, and how close are we?

Self-Parking with Little Input

Parallel parking isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time. It’s the most feared part of most folks driving exams. The good news is one of the primary functions of self-driving vehicles is to make parking easier. Side cameras and radar in vehicles such as the Ford Escape and Ford Focus can scan and identify potential parking spaces, then maneuver into them using only throttle inputs from the driver. Meanwhile, they take this a step further by automating the steering, gas, and brakes in the 7-series and electric i3 models over at BMW.

Stay in Your Lane

Lane-departure warning is a fairly standard piece of equipment these days, found on everything from budget, entry-level vehicles to high-end luxury models. This technology senses lane markings and alerts the driver through audible or tactile feedback. In most models offered now, this is paired with lane correction. Also sometimes referred to as Active Lane Control, Lane Assist, or a variety of other brand-specific name, this feature identifies drifting versus intended maneuvering and then corrects the vehicle’s direction to stay in a chosen lane.

Keep Your Distance

One of the most advanced self-driving functions on the road today is adaptive cruise control with automatic braking systems. This helps maintain distance between vehicles, applying brakes and throttle as needed to prevent or greatly reduce incidents. It does so through radar and sensors that maintain distance and speed while sensing the target’s behavior changes. Using the flow of traffic as the primary input, instead of just Maserati’s new Levante SUV, features their version of this system, which is also expected to find its way into the next generation of Ghibli Quattroporte sedans. As mentioned above, Lincoln has a similar system in the MKC and MKX, along with self-parking.

It’s not just luxury vehicles that offer this, either. Everything from the budget-level Fiat 500X to the Nissan Maxima and Murano and even the Volkswagen Golf offers some distance maintenance method. Mazda, which aims to use self-driving technology to complement the driving experience instead of a replacement, utilizes adaptive cruise control with the Smart City Brake Support system. Smart Brake systems provide automatic stopping up to certain speeds. By detecting sudden speed changes, these systems hit the brakes even faster than most humans can respond, reducing the potential for accidents.

On top of these current self-driving features, plenty of automakers are looking well into the future. Features such as Traffic Jam Assist, with lane-centering steering and full-speed adaptive cruise control, are close on the horizon for many of these automakers. These features will push the common vehicle even closer to the goal of self-driving.

Self-Driving Vehicles on the Horizon

Plenty of vehicles are dipping their toes in the self-driving waters. Tesla is at the forefront of this, with hands-free driving, but none of it can be considered self-driving – in every case, the driver must be alert behind the wheel. The NTSB doesn’t consider any vehicle on the market today to be autonomous and sees that we are years away.

So, can self-driving vehicles make moving them cross-country easier? Not really. In their current state – and shortly – semi-autonomous cars will still need someone behind the wheel and alert the whole time to be operable on open roads. While the driver won’t necessarily have to make too many inputs on a cross-country trip, they still need to be ready to act behind the wheel.

Even the most autonomous car on the road today will still need an auto transporter’s help at some point along the line. Whether it’s just from the port to the dealership or you for a cross-country move, self-driving cars aren’t ready to do the full workload themselves.

When you need to move your semi-autonomous car, truck, or SUV to the next destination, rely on the company to deal with all sorts of vehicles, from older classics to modern technological marvels. Number 1 Auto Transport is ready to get your vehicle to the next stop, and we’ll be here to help you make a move your car or truck can’t make on its own yet! Contact us today for a free estimate.

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