Autonomous vehicles are seen as a part of the future transportation and have the potential to improve traffic safety and to optimise driving behaviour. Autonomous vehicles were also identified as a relevant technology for the future by experts in the OPTIMISM project.
Autonomous vehicles use cameras, sensors, radars and GPS devices for recognising their surroundings and routes. These devices need to harmonised and connected in order for the autonomous driving to function properly and efficiently (Bullinger, 2009).
The first autonomous vehicles were developed in the 70s, but so far there is no such vehicle on the market (Bullinger, 2009). Driver assistance systems, which are based on similar sensors as the autonomous vehicles, are on the other hand already available and being used in numerous vehicles. The driver assistance systems support driving, are able to identify potential threats on time, correct the driving path and calculate driving speed and distance to other vehicles or objects. (VCS, 2011)
Are the autonomous vehicles able to drive better and safer than humans? This is a question still to be answered.
Bullinger, H-J. (2009). Technology Guide: Principles – Applications – Trends. Springer.
VCS (2011). VCS Aktuell – Sondernummer VCS Magazin, Auto-Umweltliste 03/2011. Der Ratgeber zum umweltbewussten Autokauf.