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Self-Driving Cars: Components that are Making Them a Reality

Self-driving cars are a done deal, and they’re here to stay. Industry experts estimate that by 2030 there will be over 71 million self-driving cars. These expansive changes are partly due to the advent of technology, mainly machine learning and artificial intelligence. Truth be told, self-driving cars feature the most complex engineering systems. The biggest breakthrough is not related to elevating capabilities of sophisticated algorithms; it’s all about how specialists use and adapt the systems to match the needs and wants of people wanting to buy driverless cars. The world is constantly evolving, and we’ve moving from using machine learning techniques to inventing machine learning systems.

Algorithms and Systems 

A machine learning system is made of several key components; components that make it completely different from algorithms. For an AI system to ‘see’, it has to accumulate data from multiple channels, including video, audio, text, sensors, and more. When referring to driverless cars, our world is vehicle’s most visible SI system. Aconventional car can produce up to 1.3 GB of data/hour using onboard sensors. Included in the mix, we have car condition and mileage. A hybrid can produce nearly 20 times that data amount.

When mentioning that AI systems can “see”, we refer to their ability to assimilate and process big data streams in real time. To make sure they work properly, they need to be agnostic to specific data formats; they must learn to input data, and then interpret each format. For an AI system to be able to learn, it must feature constant updates.


For a self-driving car to drive on its own, it must have an integrated GPS sub-system. The guidance and navigation must be active all the time. The GPS receive computer the present position of the car based on a detailed analysis of signals received from 4 (at least) low-orbit satellites. This way, the system offers location accuracy. At estimated time-frame for a self-driving car to “get going” is between 30 and 60 seconds. That’s because the GPS must establish the initial position of the vehicle. 

There are many different types of complex GPS sub-systems; some a single-chip (SoC) whereas other feature multi-chip chipsets that demand an antenna and power, and include application-specific computing to the engine in order to perform detailed calculations. 

Reliable supply chain 

Since a car’s brain changes constantly, the supply chain an automaker relies on to deliver, source, build, and service, must also adapt. Collaboration becomes critical in the car manufacturing model, especially when it comes to building driverless vehicles. To meet new demands, the makers are working on collaborating with the best. For example, semiconductor companies deliver lead-edge silicon promises, and as the supply chain evolves, the people who collaborate with these top technologies have the highest chances to succeed. 

At this point, we see new technologies being integrated in a driverless car, and all of them operate following their own software program and computer. 

A low-power solution 

Even though the cars of the future must feature processors that deliver increased computing power, the must also learn to do it as efficiently as possible. Automakers have already determined that a car’s computing muscle must be located under the driver’s seat. To meet this requirement and keep passengers comfortable, they use semiconductors that provide advanced processing capabilities. 

Aerial technology for precise geo-location 

Aerial technology is a fundamental part of any self-driving car. It is usually placed on the rear, and it is fed information about the exact location of the car via GPS. For complete autonomy, driverless cars must also have ultrasonic sensors installed on one of the wheels to help monitor car movements and alert the integrated systems in case obstacles emerge. Several ultrasonic sensors are already widely used by major car manufacturers. For example, one common technology is the ‘reverse park assist’ feature that uses them to help park the car in very tight spaces. 

By 2020, we’ll probably see self-driving cars go mainstream. Several automakers (akrapovic exhaust uk included) have already showed their interest for the technology. However, they can do them on their own. They need to collaborate with other tech companies to help craft hybrid engines in order to be able to compete with today’s constantly changing auto industry. 
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About the Author

Christopher Austin is the writer to this article. He is a regular contributor at many sites and mainly focuses on car related topics. He has a deep knowledge at this field. He also love to enjoy reading car magazines at his free time.

Self-Driving Cars: Components that are Making Them a Reality Reviewed by Brandon on 1:27 PM Rating: 5

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