How do Autonomous cars work?

Autonomous cars, or self-driving cars, or also called the driver-less cars have been gaining fame over the past few years. They have put people in awe over their remarkable concept of auto-driven cars. How exactly these cars function is a very intelligent phenomenon. There are basically 5 main parts that work together to make the system work.

Computer Vision

This is the part of the system that basically lets the car see. This camera vision allows the car to track lane lines, traffic signals, traffic signs, and any other object or person that may appear in front of the car. This is the sight and brain of the car. This vision can track anything that is appearing in front of the vehicle.


After the computer vision has figured out that there is something right ahead of the car, it is the sensor that determines how quickly an action must be taken. The sensor basically works along with data from the computer vision in order to determine how far away or close ahead the object is. The sensors also help to identify speeds at which another vehicle may be approaching. Other than that, sensors also identify the weather conditions. For example, if it starts to rain, the sensor will send signals to the windshield wipers to start wiping the screen.


If you’ in the driving seat, you either know the address location by heart or you use the GPS. The autonomous cars make use of the latter to travel places. Other than helping the car travel through the fastest path, the GPS also helps the car stay on roads. Although this localization system is accurate to a couple of meters only, this can cause huge damages as well. What the car GPS may identify as a road could be a walkway at a 2 meter distance from the actual road. Advances are being made in order to make the localization system more accurate than the regular GPS.

Path tracker

GPS and localization do help the car to identify a path and the exact location. However, the path tracker is what makes the autonomous car drive on the right path and the right way. This means, taking a turn at the right point, staying in the right lane, choosing the best path, etc. are the things that this feature handles. This means like a human driver would look into the side mirror before making a turn, the path planner will sense the vehicle movement around itself before the vehicle moves.


The actual part of driving the car which includes turning the steering wheel, pressing the brakes, hitting on the accelerator, etc. are things that the controller part of the systems takes care of. The exact speed to maintain is also determined by the controller.


Working together, these 5 systems help ensure the safety of the passenger. Autonomous cars are new in the market. Of course, they will improve a lot over time with better technology being installed in them gradually.

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