The future is now, and the development of self-driving cars certainly makes it seem that way. Self-driving vehicles, or autonomous/driverless cars, are vehicles that can sense their environment and drive a car automatically without human intervention. These cars are meant to perform tasks a human driver would, and a human doesn’t even necessarily have to be behind the wheel. The cars operate using sensors, radars, LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), and GPS systems, among others. The emergence of these cars could potentially alter how an auto mechanic does their job, as this technology continues to evolve.
While we cannot guarantee you will work on autonomous vehicles once you become a mechanic, it’s still important to understand just how self-driving cars work, and what mechanics can anticipate in the years ahead. With auto manufacturers and tech companies increasingly looking to dip their toes in self-driving automotive technology (Tesla, Uber, Nissan and BMW among them), fully autonomous vehicles could be regularly hitting the streets before we know it. In fact, they are already being tested for ridesharing, package deliveries, and fleet services, to name a few.
Want to learn more about self-driving cars? Check out our infographic below!
Why Mechanics Should Know About Autonomous Cars
Some technologies found in an autonomous car
- GPS systems
- Various algorithms
- Machine learning systems
- Computer vision
Did you know? By the year 2050, the value of the autonomous car industry is expected to reach US $7 trillion (CAD $10 trillion).
Levels of automation for each self-driving car
- 0: No driving automation
- 1: Driver assistance
- 2: Partial driving automation
- 3: Conditional driving automation
- 4: High automation
- 5: Complete automation
Did you know? 33 million autonomous cars are expected to be sold every year worldwide by 2040.
Some companies developing driverless technology
- General Motors
- Mercedes (Drive Pilot)
- Cadillac (Super Cruise)
- Tesla (Autopilot)
- Nissan (ProPilot Assist)
Did you know? Research done by the Rand Corporation estimates that, by 2035, self-driving cars will be 90% safer than human drivers.
Benefits of self-driving vehicles
- Lower CO2 emissions
- Visibility in darkness
- Reduced traffic congestion
- Less fuel consumption
- Safer roads
- Better highway capacity
- Fewer traffic fatalities
- Car insurance savings
- Increased productivity
Did you know? Audi’s driverless Roadrunner vehicle drove between San Francisco and New York City in a nine-day span back in 2015, though a human was behind the wheel as a precaution.