An autonomous vehicle, also known as a self-driving car, is a car capable of sensing its environment and moving without human input.

From the 1920s, there were experiments for automated driving systems. The trials began in the 1950s. First automated car was released in 1977 in Japan. This car required two cameras and an analog computer on the vehicle, and the maximum speed that the car can speed up was 30km per hour. A significant technology in autonomous car’s was developed in the 1980s. Carnegie university and ALV funded a project called ‘Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’. This leads to the first off road car which can drive in daytime and nighttime. In the 2000s, autonomous cars developed by brands like Audi tried to begin their own self driving cars.

Scientists predict that self-driving cars will be available in at least 12 years. Business Insider Intelligence reports that roughly 10 million cars with automated navigation technology will be on the road in 2020, and in the 2030s, 15 percent of the automobiles will be completely autonomous. Already, 2019 Toyota RAV4, 2019 Nissan Leaf, 2019 Tesla model 3, 2020 Volvo XC60, 2019 BMW 5 series, 2020 Lexus LS has self-driving features. 

The levels of autonomous cars vary from one to five. Level one already has been around years, and level two has been used since 2019. Level three cars are what we are developing nowadays. Level four autonomous cars, which includes proper hands off for long periods of time, is left as a big task for engineers, as well as level five. But regardless of the levels, the self driving cars are not publicly utilised. 

For the first level of autonomous cars, only one feature of the car is automated. It was first developed in the late 1900s, including auto cruise control. In level one cars, the driver is still in control of the handle. In the level two cars, the cars contain two or more elements such as self parking features. The driver is still human, but in a developed level 2 car, the car is aware of the circumstances. In the level three car, the car has safety – critical functions. This kind of autonomous car is expected to come out in 2020, this year. From level four to five, the cars have fully autonomous devices and can travel very far. 

A dilemma famously known, “what will the car make itself do if there are two options: saving the driver and hitting the crowd of people, saving the crowd and letting the driver die”. If the programmer makes the car to choose the first decision, the company will be criticised by lack of morality, and the second choice will make anyone buy that dangerous car. Also, if the people die by the car’s program, who will be in charge of the death? Likewise, the autonomous car can lead to serious discussions. In order for the self driving car to be successfully used by many people, these problems need to be solved and the solutions have to be revealed as soon as possible.

<strong>Seung Jae (Euan) Lee</strong>
Seung Jae (Euan) Lee

Student of NLCS Jeju
Member of NLCS Jeju Computer Science Society

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