Autonomous driving is the biggest challenge facing the automotive industry to date. After all, the car of the future should think like the human brain. It must understand how road traffic works and act correctly and independently at all times. Here we explain the most important technical components to you.
The camera is one of the three important components in automated driving. It is now capable of recognizing people behind parked cars, garbage containers or street lamps and identifying individuals within groups of people. The algorithm is constantly improving, and now the camera can even tell the vehicle what a pedestrian might do next. If the camera is delayed in its analysis - by a dazzling light from an oncoming car, for example - the second sensor supports it: radar.
Radar is just as important for automated driving as the camera. It sits in the bumpers of the car and emits electromagnetic waves that provide information about surrounding objects. The radar distinguishes between static and dynamic objects, i.e., it detects moving and parked vehicles. Since the radar can "see through" objects such as cars, the system can estimate at an early stage the length and width of surrounding vehicles or detect people hidden by cars.
The lidar,the third sensor, enables the precise measurement of all distances and the reflectivity of objects in order to be able to perceive the environment in the best possible way and plan ahead even more precisely. Instead of electromagnetic waves, the lidar uses laser pulses, which have a shorter range than the radar but provide a more accurate image.
In addition, the car of the future has a central control unit and two steering and braking systems that are regulated by independent control units. This is a fundamental prerequisite for automated driving. If one steering or braking system fails, the other can take over.