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Autonomous Vehicles: Where we Stand Today

Autonomous Vehicles: Where we Stand Today, automation in its early form has already made its way into most high-tier vehicles released in the last two years




Autonomous Vehicles Where we Stand Today

Although we are yet to see fully automated, driverless cars driving themselves around everywhere, automation in its early form has already made its way into most high-tier vehicles released in the last two years. If that intrigues you, rest assured that we will elaborate on that and much more as we take a look at where automation in vehicles stands now.

1. Understanding the Levels of Autonomous Features: You May Have a Few in Your Car Already

In total, there are five levels of autonomous features for self-driving cars, and the last one is theoretical at this time. Once we go through the five levels of autonomous driving/assistive features, you will likely realize that your new car may have a few of the Level 1, 2, or even three features in it already!

Level 1 Autonomous Features

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Assistive steering control
  • The presence of a human driver is essential for everything else

Level 2 Autonomous Features

  • Presence of an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS)
  • AI has limited ability to control steering, acceleration and emergency braking
  • A human driver is necessary for everything else and also for supervision

Level 3 Autonomous Features

  • Quite similar to Level 2 autonomous vehicles and has all the features mentioned above
  • Environmental awareness & detection capabilities allow for taking intelligent decisions when on auto mode.

Level 4 Autonomous Features

  • The closest we have come to fully driverless cars
  • Human driving input is only required in unmapped areas or while traversing rugged terrains

Level 5 Autonomous Features

  • The AI can drive the car safely across all terrains and weather conditions
  • A human driver is unnecessary
  • There are no level 5 self-sufficient vehicles on record yet

For those wondering, there is often a mention of Level 0 autonomous vehicles as well. Still, it’s essentially a term used to designate vehicles with zero autonomous capabilities, and therefore, it was not elaborated on here.

2. There are Tremendous Career Prospects for Automotive Engineers

The normal payroll of a self-driving car engineer was $295,000 in 2017, while the average salary of a general automotive engineer is only $76,513. The stark difference between the two related but quite different fields of work is largely due to the following facts.

  • There aren’t enough qualified engineers available for autonomous car projects.
  • All the top car manufacturers are looking for them
  • The future of the car industry is going to be dependent on self-driven cars
  • The race to get there first and take the first mover’s advantage is on

Right now, an ECE-Advanced Mobility oriented electrical, and computer engineering master’s degree is one of the most lucrative courses for engineers because of this surging demand. It merges the two fields perfectly and specializes in robotics, dynamic system design, and app development for current-gen and next-gen autonomous vehicles. As more self-governing cars make it onto the road throughout the next decade, the need for driverless car engineers will increase exponentially as well.

3. Will We be Able to Afford One?

Initially, as it is with any new piece of technology, Level 5 self-driving cars might be too costly for most of us. Therefore, the answer mostly depends on who you are and what you earn! Speaking from a general perspective, though, Level 3 and even Level 4 autonomous vehicles will become more affordable by the next decade. Elon Musk (Tesla) thinks that even Level 5 vehicles will become accessible by the year 2040.

4. Level 5 Self-Driving Vehicles Might be Seen Sooner in the Industrial Sector

The main reason fully automated vehicles are not being seen on the road is due to safety hazards. Not all driver, passenger, driver, and pedestrian safety dynamics have yet been calculated and corrected, which is why even Level 4 cars are not easily found on the road, if at all.

On the other hand, off-road, industrial vehicles such as load trucks, mining equipment, etc., must not suffer as much about all that. In the same way that Australian mining companies currently use uncrewed, autonomous trucks and other equipment for mining operations, we too may see the same being implemented with better results, much sooner than mainstream, on-road vehicles.

5. How Are Safe Self-Driving Cars in 2019 – 2020?

This is the central question for many people. The answer is also the reason why full automated self-driven cars are not yet a reality – however. As of now, vehicles with driving assistance, limited automation, and emergency controls make any car a lot safer, but that’s where the line is drawn.

The accident rate of self-driven cars is significantly higher than those of human-driven ones. This is compounded by the fact that autonomous vehicles have had so little exposure to unsafe conditions.

Tesla, in particular, has been the cause of accidents and even deaths caused by self-driven cars. Tesla AV has been officially related to six ends, with four drivers and two being pedestrians. It’s safe to say that the next time you see a driverless car going about its business, it’s best not to test its emergency breaks, especially if it’s a Tesla!

In all fairness, that is precisely why autonomous car engineers, app developers, AI developers, etc., are paid so well in this developing industry. Manufacturers need more fresh minds at the job to iron out those kinks because unless they do, the dream of driverless cars being mainstream cannot be realized.

Self-driving cars will not just be innovations that will change human history forever; they will also change the automotive business itself. Additionally, related, dependent businesses will also branch out from the news industry.

It will create jobs in multiple associated sectors and boost the economy in the process. If you have ever considered automotive/computer/electrical engineering as a career path, ensure that your education prepares you to become a part of this upcoming and inevitable automotive revolution. The fact that it’s still in development makes it the ideal career path to consider.

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6 Tips To Protect Your Vehicle From Being Stolen

Vehicles are costly, and their maintenance cost is often relatively high as well. None of us wants their car to be stolen.




Autonomous Vehicles Where we Stand Today

Vehicles are costly, and their maintenance cost is often relatively high as well. None of us wants their car to be stolen. Since vehicle theft is quite common in urban areas, you should take some precautionary measures to ensure your car’s safety, so you don’t have to panic every time you park your vehicle somewhere.

In 2017, more than 773,000 vehicles were reportedly stolen, according to the FBI’s UCR (Uniform Crime Reports). Although car theft has declined in recent years, a motor vehicle is stolen every 40.9 seconds in the US, as reported by the Insurance Information Institute (III).

According to the III, thieves are now using more sophisticated techniques for stealing cars, such as using intelligent keys and swapping vehicle registration numbers to prevent detection. So, what can you do to prevent yourself from being a car theft victim? Keep a close eye on your car’s security and take precautions to keep it safe. Here are a few steps you can take to help keep your vehicle safe.

1. Install an Immobilizer or Vehicle Tracking System

When your vehicle is stolen, the police will use vehicle tracking systems to locate it. This is a standard protection feature on certain vehicles from some manufacturers. In other ways, it can be added as an aftermarket alternative or used as an option from the factory.

When the car’s engine is switched off, immobilizers disable three circuits (ignition, starter, and fuel supply) to start and run the vehicle. Only a specially coded microchip in the key you received when you acquired your vehicle will reactivate these circuits. Also, you will get a discount on your car insurance policy in some countries if you use standard immobilizers and vehicle tracking systems.

Buying a Fleet Vehicle for Your Business

2. Invest in a High-Tech Dash Cam

While we use the cameras to monitor our homes, why can’t we use the same technique to keep our vehicles safe? Dashcams can capture high-quality videos both day and night. Featuring G-sensors, these specialized cameras can also be used as crime detectors that keep track of all unusual activities around your vehicle. The front camera swivels to give you a 360-degree view.

Vehicle monitoring and warning devices such as a high-tech dash cam capture suspicious movements or glass damage, prevent vandalism and assist in tracking the stolen vehicle.

If you hardwire a dashcam that features a parking mode into your car, it can sense motion or impact and save the video of the incident for you in a separate folder.

3. Remove Your Valuables or Keep Them Out of Sight

The valuables inside the car are the most common reason for break-ins. Since cars are easy to trace, stealing one is more complex than you would expect. But what about those small items you left in the car? Thieves can easily hide them into a small bag or pocket and walk away. That is why it is essential not to have so many things in your car or take what you already have inside with you once you exit the vehicle.

If you can’t hold things out of your vehicle, covering them is the next best option. Before breaking into the car, thieves would want to know what they’re stealing and make sure it’s valuable. Anything from backseat bags to a jewellery item hung on the rearview mirror will draw their attention.

If you cover the things, thieves may still notice that there is something in the vehicle, but they will not know what is inside, and therefore, it’s less likely that they will take a chance in this situation. To hide things out of their reach, you can cover them with a towel or blanket or place them in the trunk.

Autonomous Vehicles Where we Stand Today

4. Make Sure Your Car has a Steering Wheel Lock

One of the most efficient and straightforward methods to stop car thieves is to install a mechanical device that can lock the steering wheel. A steering wheel lock does not discourage a committed robber, but most thieves want easy prey. A steering wheel lock can persuade a vehicle thief to move on to a less labour-intensive task.

If you ever decide to purchase a steering wheel lock or other vehicle protection system, make sure to inform the insurance provider. Many insurance companies, as mentioned, provide premiums on these vehicle security systems, meaning you might save a lot of money over time. There are a few other security options for your vehicle to save money on auto insurance as well.

5. Park Your Vehicle in Well-Lit Areas

To escape the attention, breaking into a vehicle and taking things from inside must be achieved fast. Most auto thieves work on a second-by-second basis, getting in, back, and away from the car before you even notice they’re there. Deterring criminals is easy if your car is parked in a well-lit area or on a busy street. On the other hand, It becomes much easier for criminals to break into your vehicle if you have parked it in the shadows.

Park your car in a garage if you can because it’s the safest possible location for your car. Or, you can park it in a monitored parking area where it will also remain safe from break-ins.

6. Lock the Doors of Your Vehicle

While it might seem quite obvious, many drivers won’t lock their vehicles, especially when it’s parked on a quiet street or in a parking area of their workplace. A thief might be scoping out the neighbourhood, regardless of how low the crime rate has been in your area. An unlocked car would provide him with easy access as well as a quick escape down the lane.

Therefore, make it a rule to lock your vehicle when you switch off its engine. While it may take some extra few seconds to push the button on the keychain, it will be a time well spent for the security of your car.

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