Fully Autonomous Vehicles - Michael Nikowitz - ebook

Fully Autonomous Vehicles ebook

Michael Nikowitz

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Opis

Since the invention of the modern car in 1886 by Karl Benz, it has been bringing pleasure to every one of us. For nearly 130 years, the automotive industry has been a force for innovation and economic growth. Now, in the 21st century, the pace of innovation is speeding up and the automotive sector is facing a new kind of technological revolution as it approaches “Fully Autonomous Vehicles”. Self-driving vehicles clearly impact the experience of passengers. Sooner or later, it may become possible for automobiles to drive autonomously and successfully to their destinations. How will this technology change the relationship between people and their automobiles? How will self-driving vehicles change the transportation sector and our freedom of mobility as we know it today? If autonomous cars succeed, how will they change our world? This book has a focus on autonomous driving from various perspectives; it looks at what an autonomous car is and how it may come to be commonplace on our roads, as well as the factors that could prevent its development and adoption. It also reviews the potential benefits of these vehicles and how they might impact different aspects of our lives. The book also examines the challenges and hurdles that face driverless vehicles and considers some solutions to these obstacles to enable successful market penetration. Aside from the social and economic consequences of autonomous vehicles, this book also emphasizes the technical point of view. It describes the technological inventions and engineering concepts which are necessary to operate self-driving vehicles. In summary, this book provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of the art in driverless cars and makes some projections for the future. Autonomous cars no longer exist merely in the minds of children and science fiction writers. They are real and will be on roads sooner than you think

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"They shouldn't allow humans to drive!"

(Image Credit: Space machine, 2015)

The revolution, when it comes, will be engendered by the advent of autonomous or “self-driving” vehicles. And the timing may be sooner than you think.

(Source: Center for Automotive Research, 2013 [1])

IMPRINT

Editor and Author:

Ing. Michael Nikowitz, MSc. Fernkorngasse 54/1/310 1100 Vienna, [email protected]

Illustration, Layout and Design:

Image courtesy of Creative Quantum Jumps by Michael Nikowitzwww.creativequantumjumps.com

Copyright © Nikowitz 2015 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are reserved by the publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction or microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaption, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The author and the editor are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the author nor the editor give a warranty, express or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made.

About the author

Michael Nikowitz was born in Vienna (Austria), in 1986. From an early age, he was interested in the field of technique.

After he finished secondary technical school with a focus on mechatronics and automation, he graduated from the University of Applied Sciences (Technikum Wien) in 2011, with a Master of Science in Engineering in the field of Mechatronics and Robotics. After working in the field of industrial and mobile robots, he changed his fields of interest to mechatronic concepts and technical optical systems. After several years of working as a laser engineer in the field of ultrashort pulse laser systems, he finally moved to the field of advanced propulsion systems of various vehicles driven by electrified drive trains. Currently he is working there as scientific advisor for a strategic platform of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology. He also works for the International Energy Agency, where he represents Austria as a National Delegate and works as an Operating Agent for an international task called “System Optimization and Vehicle Integration of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles”. Always interested in the field of robotics, he remains active in the advancement of automation and robotics by working for the association for promotion of automation and robotics as vice president. Happily, this position allows him to integrate his knowledge of robots and self-driving vehicles.

Preface

Current trends in energy supply and use are unsustainable, whether in terms of environment, economy or society. We have to change the path that we are now on. We must reduce greenhouse gas emissions and we have to improve energy efficiency, by using low-carbon energy technologies. In the search for a sustainable solution to these challenges, electrical energy may be the key to success, particularly when it comes to mobility. Vehicles driven by an electrified powertrain can significantly contribute to the protection of the environment. Right now, the automotive industry is facing two major trends: the electrification of the drive train and autonomous driving. These trends are not independent thanks to the fact that the electrified power train eases the implementation of driverless vehicles.

Has there ever been a finer creation that the automobile? Since the invention of the modern car in 1886 by Karl Benz, it has been bringing pleasure to every one of us. For nearly 130 years, the automotive industry has been a force for innovation and economic growth. But is it still in tune? Now, in the 21st century, the pace of innovation is speeding up and the automotive sector is facing a new kind of technological revolution as it approaches “fully autonomous vehicles”. Self-driving vehicles clearly impact the experience of passengers, but perhaps more importantly this technology will have an impact on several sectors of our society and on our whole ecosystem.

Sooner or later, it may become possible for automobiles to drive autonomously and successfully to their destinations.

How will this technology change the relationship between people and their automobiles? How will self-driving vehicles change the transportation sector and our freedom of mobility as we know it today? If autonomous cars succeed, how will they change our world? Could autonomous cars replace public transportation?

This book has a focus on autonomous driving from various perspectives; itlooks at what an autonomous car is and how it may come to be commonplace on our roads, as well as the factors that could prevent its development and adoption.It also reviews the potential benefits of these vehicles and how they might impact different aspects of our lives. The book also examines the challenges and hurdles that face driverless vehicles and considers some solutions to these obstacles to enable successful market penetration. Aside from the social and economic consequences of autonomous vehicles, this book also emphasizes the technical point of view. It describes the technological inventions and engineering concepts which are necessary to operate self-driving vehicles. In summary, this book provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of the art in driverless cars and makes some projections for the future.

Contents

1Introduction.8

1.1Definition of (fully) autonomous vehicles.8

1.2What does a “driverless” vehicle look like?.9

1.3Why are autonomous vehicles important now?.15

2Benefits and societal impacts of autonomous driving.22

2.1The promises of autonomous driving.22

2.2The impacts of autonomous driving.30

3Barriers and challenges of autonomous driving.36

3.1The loss of joy.36

3.2Increases in unemployment37

3.3Data protection and privacy.37

3.4Costs of autonomous vehicles.38

3.5Market introduction and transit period.40

3.6Legislation and liability.41

3.7The 2x2 dimension of autonomous driving.47

4A cost/ benefit analysis of autonomous driving.50

5From ADAS to fully autonomous driving.51

5.1ADAS-Systems - an overview..54

5.2Accident avoidance through ADAS.55

5.3ADAS - a fast growing industry.57

5.4The different steps towards self-driving vehicles.63

6Technical requirements for autonomous driving.69

7Examples of autonomous vehicles.87

7.1Google’s self-driving cars - first generation.89

7.2Google’s next generation of self-driving cars.93

8Availability of autonomous vehicles and future outlook.98

8.1 Current status.98

8.2When to expect (fully) autonomous driving?.102

9The future of the driverless-automotive industry.110

10Conclusion.119

11Appendix.122

11.1 List of References.122

11.2 List of Figures.131

11.3Abbreviations and Nomenclature.134

1Introduction

Visions of unmanned and autonomous machines and vehicles are not new. Experiments with unmanned aircrafts began in the First World War and a radio controlled car was demonstrated in the streets of New York in 1925 [2]. Autonomous vehicles have long been predicted in science fiction and discussed in popular science media. Recently, major corporations have announced plans to begin selling fully autonomous vehicles in the near future. Driverless vehicles are no longer restricted to the realm of science fiction - they are in development and will be operating on our roads sooner than many would imagine.

This section defines the terms “autonomous”, “self-driving”, and “robotic” as they refer to vehicles and provides examples of each. Further, this section points out why these vehicles are so popular nowadays and why they might become indispensable for our society.

1.1Definition of (fully) autonomous vehicles

Right now, there exists no consensus definition of autonomous vehicles. The most typical designations are: “driverless”, “(fully) autonomous”, “self-driving” or “robotic”.Currently, the descriptions “driverless” or “fully autonomous” vehicles are representing the most common phrases by containing: a vehicle (car) with total autonomy.

As there is no consensus definition, two working definitions will be used here:

•Definition 1: a vehiclethat is designed to travel between destinations without a human operator.

•Definition 2: a vehiclewhich is able to perceive its environment, decide autonomously which route to take to its destination, and conduct itself along the route it selects.

Certain milestones of autonomy must be achieved before a vehicle can be considered fully autonomous (a detailed description is mentioned in chapter5).

A fully autonomous vehicle can be described as a vehicle, being able to navigate without any human intervention to a predetermined destination over roads that have not been adapted for its use.

For a common understanding, the terms “autonomous” and “driverless” vehicles will be used interchangeably in this report.

1.2What does a “driverless” vehicle look like?

The concept of a driverless vehicle is not totally new. Even in the year 1957 people thought about what future cars would look like.Fig 1shows a common portrayal. Here we see a family of four playing a board game while their futuristic electric car drives itself. As this advert from 1957 suggests, the aspiration for self-driving cars is one that has been held for at least half of a century. The text that accompanied the original read: “ELECTRICITY MAY BE THE DRIVER. One day your car may speed along an electric super-highway, its speed and steering automatically controlled by electronic devices embedded in the road. Highways will be made safe by electricity! No traffic jams…no collisions…no driver fatigue.”

Fig1: Imagination of a self-driving car from 1957[3]

However, when today people are asked what they imagine driverless vehicles to be like, their responses may differ depending on their generation and their knowledge of current driverless car engineering. The younger and elderly generation imagine “robotic vehicles” when they think about driverless vehicles. As this description consists of the two terms “robotic” and “vehicle”, many adult (and especially elderly) people envision a robot driving a conventional car. An illustration is shown inFig 2. This figure shows a robot trying to drive a vehicle during the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA’s) Robotic Challenge.

This challenge is a competition between teams of robot and software engineers who are trying to develop robots capable of assisting humans in responding to natural and man-made disasters. It was designed to be extremely difficult. Participating teams, representing some of the most advanced robotics research and development organizations in the world, collaborate and innovate on a very short timeline to develop the hardware, software, sensors, and human-machine control interfaces that will enable their robots to complete a series of challenge tasks selected by DARPA for their relevance to disaster response [4].

While the elderly generation imagines a robot (more or less a humanoid one) driving a conventional car, the younger generation thinks about a robot that can transform itself into a conventional car. This conceptualization might be primarily informed by popular movies like “The Transformers”, as it can be seen inFig 3. At least from today’s point of view, we are far away from such a technology and it might be questionable if we will ever develop such a technology.

Fig2: What people have in mind when they think about “robotic cars"- a car driven by a robot during the "DARPA"- challenge [5]

Fig3: A robot that can transform itself into a car [5]

Today’s autonomous cars - or “robotic vehicles”- neither consist of a humanoid robot driving a vehicle, nor a robot transforming itself into a vehicle. Rather, it looks more or less like a conventional vehicle and consists of an array of sensors, actuators, computers, power electronics and communication tools. That’s the reason why the term “robotic vehicle” is not typically applied to contemporary autonomous vehicles. On the one hand it is obvious that these vehicles look and ride like conventional ones, but on the other hand people feel uneasy when they think about robots. Who wants to have a creepy ride?

It’s the same reason why unmanned public transport systems (i.e. subways) are also not called “robotic subways”.

Instead of using the term “robotic”, they are mostly named as "autonomous".

Autonomous vehicles look like usual vehicles we drive today, taking over from the driver under certain circumstances. Fully autonomous or self-driving vehicles are more advanced. The vehicle will do all the driving, using the same system of sensors, radar and GPS mapping that autonomous vehicles employ.

In the context of this book, the term “fully autonomous vehicles” refers to automobiles that are powered by autonomous technologies and are capable of travelling without human control of the vehicle.