Autonomous driving is no more just a dream and more a more automakers are going the driverless route and plan to have at least one or more self-driving vehicles in their lineup within the next few years. While traditional or conventional vehicles continue to be the most preferred and favorite among drivers, electric and hybrid vehicles are steadily gaining popularity. Cars are now laden with newer technologies and innovations with each release. The most advanced safety, navigation and driver assist features are being incorporated in vehicles to help reduce human error and provide better ride quality and comfort like in most Mazda cars that use its native I-ACTIVSENSE technology. These trends we feel precede or set the agenda for autonomous driving capability in future vehicles. We approached Mazda Phoenix to get some know-how about which of these technologies could be used in Autonomous Driving.
What are Autonomous Cars
In simple terms, vehicles that can drive themselves without the need for or with minimal human intervention would be autonomous cars. Such a car should be able to guide itself to the desired destination using whatever available on-board mobile or satellite navigation systems using the best possible routes and follow necessary traffic and safety rules while on the go. There are a wide range of technologies evolving that can go great lengths in aiding autonomous driving and some of them are already in use on some vehicles in some way or the other which we seek to explore below.
Mazda Radar Cruise Control
A form of Adaptive Cruise Control, the Mazda Radar Cruise Control (MRCC) is available as an option in vehicles such as the Mazda3 and Mazda6 among others. Using this, the vehicle automatically adjusts your cruising speed by detecting vehicles moving in front of you. You can turn this off if you desire. This is one technology that is surely going into self-driving cars.
Mazda Rear Vehicle Monitoring System
Another masterful technology from Mazda that can be used in autonomous driving, this nifty feature uses quasi milli-wave radars mounted on your rear bumper to measure the speed of vehicles right behind you and warn you of any imminent danger of collisions as you change lanes.
Lane Departure Warning System
This would be necessarily used in driver-less cars to keep the vehicles well within their lanes. The system uses frontal cameras to monitor the road markings which are processed using complex recognition systems that can tell when the vehicle has switched lanes without proper indication. In case of a possibility and if enabled, corrective action can be taken such as steering the vehicle back on track.
Mazda Intelligent Transport System (ITS)
Brought to our notice at Mazda dealer Phoenix, this is a technology that goes beyond just radars, sonars, lasers and cameras. The ITS is a combination of all these in congruence with inputs from a centralized telecommunication system that actively monitors road conditions and relays this information using mobile networks to the vehicle which then uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and existing on-board systems such as I-ACTIVESENSE to help drivers and computers controlling self-driven cars to make informed decisions.