The vehicle’s basemap contains information about driving lanes, speed limits, traffic signals, and other information needed by the controller system.
The controller system processes the data from the automated vehicle’s sensors and uses that information to control the vehicle.
Radar units reflect radio waves off nearby objects to determine their relative position and velocity.
LiDAR (laser) sensors reflect lasers off of nearby objects. LiDAR can detect pavement markings and features, and it can differentiate objects.
Multiple cameras collect visual information from the roadway and surrounding area and deliver them to the controller system for analysis.
The GPS system locates the precise position of the automated vehicle and assists in its navigation.
Autonomous vehicles are likely to fundamentally transform transportation as we know it. Not only will they be more convenient than today’s cars, they’ll also be much safer. And many experts believe they’ll improve traffic congestion and shrink our carbon to boot.
There’s no single definition for how an AV works – there are still many viable approaches under development – but the general idea is the same: vehicles use various sensors to see the roadway around them, and then use machine learning and AI to make better, safer decisions than any human driver could.