Technology

#AutonomousEverything

Autonomous Driving: Hand over control

Min Reading Time
Tags: ArtificialIntelligence, SeeThinkAct, Connectivity

From Frankenstein to Matrix: literature and films are full of conflicts between machines and people. Most people would also have difficulty relinquishing control to an autonomous vehicle. But automation can deliver many advantages here.
Lars Weitbrecht, August 27, 2019
author_image
Lars Weitbrecht originally comes from the music and gaming industry, but in addition to holding a game pad or guitar in his hand, he also enjoys the power of the pen and the feel of the steering wheel.
Hollywood shapes the way we think. The murderous supercomputer HAL 9000, the Terminator, and the evil Matrix agents: The battle between humans and machines is a conflict that pop culture likes to foster. And the influence of these works extends far beyond the movie theater box office – even into the discussion of the ethics in relation to artificial intelligence and automation.

Skepticism about Autonomous Vehicles

Skepticism about Autonomous Vehicles

This also applies to the motorcar. Many people would find it very hard indeed to hand over control completely to an autonomous vehicle. By way of example, 67 percent of people questioned in the survey commissioned by the Bertelsmann Foundation stated that they are skeptical regarding completely autonomous vehicles. When asked about the reasons for this mistrust, 83 percent cited the loss of control over the vehicle. This point scored second after the fear of accidents and defective technology.

An important key to preventing accidents

An important key to preventing accidents

Unjustly so, as other studies show. Automation is actually an important key to making road transportation safer. “In the coming decades, automated assistance systems and fully automated driving will be an important key to having road traffic without serious or fatal accidents,” to paraphrase the ADAC future study “The Evolution of Mobility”. Above all, they will help to alleviate inattentiveness as an accident risk. Which is, worldwide, one of the primary causes of crashes. In quite a few countries, inattentiveness has even pushed driving while drunk from first place.
It is a known fact that the human brain is not ideally designed for driving a car. Driving a passenger car safely at high speed while paying attention to road signs and to the many other vehicles on the road is a considerable mental effort. And because we are human beings, we are not always consistently good at performing this task. Many people actually feel overwhelmed when driving a car. This is why we have electronic aids to help us compensate for our shortcomings in ever more complex road traffic situations.

Three areas where technology really can assist:

Three areas where technology really can assist:

1. Visibility
In overall terms, radar, lidar, and cameras can see better than us – and a great deal better in the dark or when faced with difficult environmental conditions such as wet roads, fog, or snow. Always, of course, assuming that the sensors are designed for these conditions. When intelligently bundled, they allow for a sweeping and detailed 360-degree view.

2. Attentiveness
A computer does not tire. Even when the same situation is encountered for the hundredth time, it is “fully concentrated”. For people, similar and monotonous situations are very much the number one concentration killer. However, a high level of automation requires a supercomputer. With ZF ProAI RoboThink, ZF offers the most powerful AI-capable mainframe computer in the automotive field.

3. Response time
As the phrase “moment of fear” indicates, valuable time gets lost while humans gather their thoughts and react to a situation. When a collision avoidance system detects an obstacle, it reacts with almost no delay at all, making a valuable contribution to stopping distance. ZF also develops intelligent emergency braking and collision avoidance assistance systems to support drivers in critical situations.

Men and machines: How collaboration can succeed

Men and machines: How collaboration can succeed

Nevertheless, there continue to be aspects of road traffic that people simply can contend with better than technology. This is especially true of appraising the situation as a whole. People are still able nowadays to intuitively grasp situations (including road traffic scenarios) holistically, and – subject to individual experience – can do so very rapidly. We are able to tell at a glance whether a paper bag is blowing in front of the car or whether a dog has leapt into its path. Machines still have to learn how to interpret image and sensor data in a reliable manner.
This means that, for the foreseeable future, the task is all about achieving good interaction between humans and machines. ZF demonstrates what form that might take with its Level 2+ system, ZF coPILOT. This intelligent advanced driver assistance system provides driving and safety functions that go well beyond the performance level of a regular Level 2 system for semi-autonomous driving. For example, ZF coPILOT continuously analyzes vehicle surroundings, enabling it to recognize pedestrians or oncoming traffic, and to assist human drivers if they happen to overlook something.

#MobilityLifeBalance

With an initiative, ZF focuses squarely on people with regard to mobility offers, showing where and how things can be improved.

Further related articles