Self-Driving Vehicles: A Brief Guide For Students Taking an Automotive Hybrid Technology Course

Sometimes you watch a sci-fi movie or futuristic action thriller and see amazing technological vehicles that make you think about the potential of the auto industry. That scenario bodes well for the future of automotive technology, as self-driving cars are already making their way to consumers.

For an aspiring auto mechanic, ATC Surrey is providing this brief guide on self-driving vehicles that are making a journey into the future pretty real. Just as hybrid and electric vehicles are the new kids on the block, the same goes with self-driving vehicles. Read on for a quick look at the future of self-driving vehicles! 

The Scoop on Self-Driving Cars for Those in Hybrid and Electrical Mechanic Training

What are self-driving cars? For an auto mechanic who enjoys getting behind the wheel, you may be very excited to know that the concept of a self-driving car doesn’t require any interaction or interference from a human driver. However, a true self-driving car is yet to be made – Tesla seems to be the closest to achieving that. 

As a hybrid and electric vehicle mechanic who’s curious about the latest auto technologies, Tesla’s autopilot features are about the closest you can get to self-driving cars. The autopilot features allow the car to self-drive under certain circumstances, but still require a human driver to stay attentive and take control of the wheel. Because of human intervention, the current “self-driving” cars are categorized as either a Level 3 “Conditional Driving Automation” or Level 4 “High Driving Automation,” which requires drivers to manually take charge.

Currently, we still need human drivers to take control of self-driving cars in certain situations

Self-Driving Cars Need Sensors to View Surroundings

Since you’re in hybrid and electrical mechanic training, you probably know of driver assistance technology in hybrids and EVs that drivers can use on the road. The same goes for self-driving cars. The current self-driving cars make use of sensors to get a clear view of surrounding vehicles and objects to replicate a human’s perception when braking, steering or accelerating. Self-driving cars rely on light image detection and ranging (LIDAR) sensors, which use pulses of laser light that scan and reflect off objects to create 3D images of the surroundings. They also make use of wide and narrow-angle high-resolution cameras that can read markings and road signs. The current self-driving cars also have radio detection and ranging sensor (RADAR) sensors that send radio waves to bounce off surfaces. These are designed to assist with automatic braking and adaptive cruise control.

Look out for how these cars use sensors to view their surroundings after hybrid and electrical mechanic training

How Self-Driving Cars Can Navigate

By using the sensors mentioned above, self-driving cars can work to navigate the quickest and safest routes on the road – so far with the supervision of a human driver. This helps the self-driving car avoid any moving or stationary objects on the road. The cars can also maneuver easily and efficiently when passing other cars or when changing from one lane to another. Self-driving cars also offer map building using LIDAR and camera sensors to situate the car after scanning the environment and understanding the surroundings. The car is then able to generate a route map based on the sensors, IMU and GPS. Using sensors and machine learning algorithms, self-driving cars can also predict the identity of objects that may lie ahead as it generates a navigation map. 

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