August 19, 2021Autonomous Security in Vehicles in 2021
By now, the chances are you’re familiar with the concept of autonomous vehicles. There are a variety of different levels when it comes to this automotive development, but autonomous vehicles are universally acknowledged as vehicles that can be operated without human involvement and sense their environment.
Coming hand in hand with autonomous vehicles is autonomous vehicle security. This refers to the technology incorporated into vehicles (autonomous or not) that is designed to keep drivers, passengers and other road users safe. Autonomous security in vehicles comes in many different forms, and in this article, we’ll explore some of the innovations the industry has seen in recent years, but we’ll also explain how this new technology is changing the landscape of the automotive sector.
What Are the Six Levels of Autonomous Vehicles?
Before we delve into the world of autonomous security in vehicles, it’s important to understand exactly what an autonomous vehicle is.
As previously mentioned, there are a variety of different levels when it comes to classifying autonomous vehicles. These are as follows:
- Level 0 – The car does not take control and the human has to do all of the driving
- Level 1 – The vehicle’s advanced driver system (ADAS), can assist with steering, accelerating or braking
- Level 2 – ADAS can handle steering, braking and accelerating in limited conditions, however, the driver is still required to carry out the majority of the driving and pay attention at all times
- Level 3 – The vehicle’s advanced driving system (ADS) is able to perform all of the driving in some conditions. But, the human driver may be asked to take control at certain points of the journey
- Level 4 – ADS controls all driving tasks in certain conditions, during these conditions the human’s attention is not required
- Level 5 – This is full automation where the vehicle’s ADS can take care of all driving tasks in all conditions. The human does not need to assist with any driving and the car’s technology is able to communicate with and recognise traffic lights, road signs, other road users and pedestrians.
What Is Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)?
Described as ‘the most important development in car safety since the seatbelt’ by automotive research group Thatcham Research, Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) is one of the main autonomous security innovations we’ve seen in recent years.
Implemented in both autonomous and non-autonomous vehicles, AEB technology monitors the road regularly, assessing the proximity between your car and other road users. If it thinks that a collision is imminent, and the driver is unable to react in time, the AEB will activate, apply the brakes and prevent what could be a dangerous accident.
Previously, seatbelts and airbags would protect a driver in the event of a crash but these aren’t foolproof, and by avoiding a collision altogether, drivers and passengers are safer than ever before.
What is a Driver Fatigue Alert?
A common issue among drivers, particularly lorry drivers or those embarking on long journeys, is fatigue and drowsiness. Tiredness can be incredibly dangerous if you’re driving, with reaction times, erratic driving and even nodding off behind the wheel all symptoms that can result in catastrophe.
Recognising this issue, some vehicles have driver fatigue alerts installed which notify them to take a break if they’re becoming tired. The technology operates by monitoring key driving indicators that become diminished when a driver is fatigued. This includes erratic steering, inconsistent pedal use and lane deviations. It also looks at how fast the car is going, and if it deems necessary will send the driver alerts informing them.
Messages on your dashboard, steering wheel vibrations and sounds will be emitted to inform the driver that they should take a break.
What is a Head-Up-Display (HUD)?
Typically associated with fighter jets in the air force, head-up-display (HUD) technology has recently made the move into road vehicles, too. Helping give drivers key information and statistics without having to take their eyes off the road, HUD uses a projector to beam information onto the road directly in front of the driver’s eye line.
If you’re a fighter pilot then you may already know about HUD technology, if not, then it isn’t actually as distracting as it sounds. Designed to stop drivers from taking their eyes away from the road to look at their dashboard, some of the key information displayed includes speed limits, how fast you’re currently driving, directions and nearby signage.
What is Night Vision?
Many motorists don’t enjoy driving in the dark, with a significant proportion of accidents happening during the night. In order to enhance security when driving at night, many luxury manufacturers, including Porsche, BMW and Audi, have implemented a night vision mode that helps drivers see better after dark.
By using infrared technology, drivers will be shown ‘warm’ objects that may otherwise be hidden from view. This includes pedestrians, animals and cyclists. Night vision technology can detect things from up to 200m away and is a great way of keeping drivers aware of their surroundings and enhancing vehicle security.
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