Autonomous vehicles have rather marked complexities that must be addressed to make the next generation of cars, trucks, and SUVs even viable. One of the most important facets of this technology is a mutual understanding between man and machine – a synergy that allows automated and manual driving to be seamless, if at all existent. Determining how self-driving vehicles behave remains the top priority on the agenda for a twenty-nine member consortium led by Volkswagen.
Known as AdaptIVE (Automated Driving Applications and Technologies for Intelligent Vehicles), this consortium will spend the next forty-two (42) months developing efficient and safer autonomous systems. There is much to consider during this timeframe, and Volkswagen hopes to develop solutions for how these vehicles’ “brains” will manage chaotic, varying environments of the road and traffic, as well as transferring control to the driver if needed. AdaptIVE will also delve into whether or not the systems will even need drivers to participate in the driving experiences.
That’s why they developed a framework of stages:
- Assisted Driving – The driver retains control but assigns simple tasks to the car, such as parking and driving in reverse.
- Partly Automated – The driver retains control with constant monitoring from the system, which reacts autonomously to apply brakes or prevent dangerous lane changes.
- Highly Automated – Though the system actually drives the car, the driver must remain alert to take control when needed.
- Fully Automated – The system drives the car with complete autonomy.
With seven cars and a transport truck, the consortium will travel to destinations with disparate roadway conditions for a comprehensive understanding of what system may work best. Each vehicle offers collaborative technologies and advanced sensors that range the gamut of stages.
An ancillary objective of the project asks the companies to investigate the legal implications of these systems, including the effect on insurance rates.
Professor Jürgen Leohold expressed gratitude toward the several European automobile companies that agreed to cooperate in the AdaptIVE consortium. He also looks forward to working with this research that “will not only utilize onboard sensors, but also cooperative elements such as vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication.”
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