Sorry für die Headline! Aber der heutige Artikel erklärt autonomes Fahren für Nicht-Ingenieure. Gebt Euch also im nächsten Meeting keine Blöße und lest vorausschauend 🙂
Also called autonomous cars, they work on the combination of 3 cool fields of technology. Here’s a brief introduction to each of them, and then we will go into depth. By the end of this essay, you will know enough about all these technologies to be able to hold an intelligent conversation with an engineer or investor in these fields. Things like “artificial neural networks” won’t sound like magic spells or sci-fi film words anymore.
By the way, I’ve categorized some things into roughly separate “systems”, but of course in practice these systems are all highly interconnected without clearly defined boundaries.
Computer Vision (ooooooohhhhh sounds so cool): The technology which allows the car to “see” its surroundings. These are the eyes and ears of the car. This whole system is called Perception. Basically we use:
1. Good old cameras, which are the most important (simple 2 megapixel cameras can work fine),
2. radars, which are second-most important. They throw radio waves around, and like ultrasound you detect the waves that bounce off objects and come back,
3. and lasers, which are cool to have but they are pretty expensive nowadays, and they don’t work when its raining or foggy. Also called “lidar”. You can say they’re like radar but give a little better picture quality, and lasers can go pretty far so you have greater range of view. The lasers are usually placed in a spinning wheel on top of the car so they spin around very fast, looking at the environment around them.