What Is an Autonomous Vehicle?

Everyone remembers the shiny, chromium future promised in the 60s and 70s. Especially the bit about flying, self-piloted cars! Sadly, the promise of the flying car remains out of reach for now (despite the best hopes of some developers).

However, there is one futuristic promise we have managed to make good on. The car that can drive itself, otherwise known as an autonomous vehicle. What is an autonomous vehicle? How does it work? How can businesses use these marvels? We’ll tell you what you need to know here.

First Off, What Is an Autonomous Vehicle?

Let’s answer your first lingering question right off the bat. What is an autonomous vehicle? As we alluded to above, an autonomous vehicle is one that’s capable of driving itself. It accomplishes this by means of complex programming, a series of cameras, and a network of sensors.

That means that if were you to ride in one, you’d be able to enjoy the smoothness of a professional chauffeur’s driving without having to deal with the human interaction or the extra fees.

How Do Autonomous Vehicles Work?

Now that you know what an autonomous vehicle is, you might wonder, how does it work? Crucial to this process is the knowledge that AVs have 6 different levels of automation. These levels are as follows:

  • Level 0: Same as a traditional car, you control all major operations
  • Level 1: Allows the vehicle to support the driver with braking, steering, or accelerating
  • Level 2: The vehicle’s driver assistance system can handle most level 1 tasks, but driver input and attention is still required
  • Level 3: The vehicle’s system handles all basic functions, but driver input is still needed when prompted
  • Level 4: The vehicle’s system performs all basic and some advanced functions, reducing the need for human input
  • Level 5: The vehicle’s system handles every driving function, requiring no human input

Many vehicles that would otherwise be considered non-autonomous include at least level 1 or 2 automation tasks in their core programming. As we mentioned above, these complex processes get handled by a series of programs, sensors, and cameras to keep the car in the right lane and going on the right path.

How Can Companies Use Autonomous Vehicles?

Due to the relative newness of the concept, many companies have yet to deploy autonomous vehicles. However, they can revolutionize many industries in the future, including transportation and logistics. Due to the potential economic ramifications of automating such positions, however, there is still heavy resistance to using autonomous vehicles.

Let’s Review the Facts

Let’s take a moment to review what we’ve learned. What is an autonomous vehicle? A vehicle that uses complex programming and sensory arrays to drive itself with minimal levels of human interference. Companies have yet to adopt this technology in full force, but it seems to be the latest revolution in the automotive industry.

Did you find this autonomous vehicle guide informative? Would you like to read more about the latest advances in technology? If so, then check out our blog for more tech-based articles like this one!