Autonomous driving of vehicles is moving ever closer: thanks to advanced sensor technology, cars will soon only need a human driver to monitor them or intervene in an emergency. Corresponding EU laws are already planned or have already been partially implemented.
Law for autonomous driving launched
In February 2021, the German government published a draft law that would regulate level 4 autonomous driving on public roads. Level 4 means that the system has full control over driving. These legal requirements are the cornerstone for autonomous vehicles to be sold by manufacturers and purchased by citizens in the first place.
The role of sensor technology in autonomous driving
Sensor technology, i.e. the perception of the outside world, is both a prerequisite for autonomous driving and its greatest technological challenge. Sensor technology includes cameras, radar, ultrasound and LiDAR sensor technology – the complex interaction is known as sensor fusion. These technologies process the collected information together and make autonomous driving possible in the first place.
Sensor fusion: camera, radar, ultrasound, LiDAR sensor technology
Conventional cameras will take over the role of the driver’s eyes in autonomous driving, although weather and nighttime darkness can cause problems. Radar systems can locate obstacles regardless of the weather and thus calculate distances and initiate emergency braking, for example. Obstacles in the immediate vicinity are detected by ultrasound, for example in the form of parking aids and for monitoring the “blind spot”.
LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) technology uses laser pulses that are weather-independent, high-resolution and operate at both short and long range. With the help of these lasers, the on-board computer can create a high-resolution 3D map of the surroundings. In addition, the cars communicate with each other constantly to avoid collisions and traffic jams.
This interaction makes safe autonomous driving possible. Many drivers look forward to relaxed, safe driving with fewer traffic jams and accidents, but fear errors and unclear functions. Displays inside and outside the car therefore ensure transparent communication. Not only do drivers read information in the car itself, but pedestrians and other road users can also see on the exterior screens, for example, that they have been noticed by the vehicle.
Therefore, the focus is on the technical innovations to make the dream of autonomous driving a widespread reality soon. WITOL already has great experience in the installation of the sensitive interior displays and is transferring this know-how to the installation of exterior displays.