Ever since Cartoon Network brought to us shows like ‘The Jetsons’, consumers are eagerly looking forward to more and more futuristic technological developments like self driving cars. The idea of reading a book or catching up on the latest Netflix release while you drive to work, without actually having to drive, is very appealing for a lot of people.
Companies such as Uber and Tesla have been working on the prototype for self driving cars for quite some time now, with limited success. Indian companies such as Tata Motors and Mahindra have also indicated an interest in entering the self driving cars space, but are yet to make significant impact. On the other hand, several Indian startups are also actively working in the self-driving vehicles space. While most of these startups are looking to enter the commercial vehicles space, some are also perfecting the technology to achieve self driving cars and other vehicles. Some of these startups include:
1. Flux Auto:
This Bangalore-based startup provides regular trucks into self-driving vehicles by facilitating features including cruise control, collision avoidance, lane keeping in a cost-effective manner.
Based out of Kolkata, Fisheyebox is making cars that can begin running with a ‘Start Engine’ voice command. The car operates with a joystick and is equipped with sensors, cameras and antennae; which work in collaboration with its voice recognition software.
Utilising artificial intelligence to enhance road and driver safety, Netradyne vehicles are equipped with powerful cameras to analyse driving patterns. A soap-sized device, named Driveri, is attached to the rearview mirrors of vehicles and allows the cameras to connect with devices around the world.
Despite the large amount of public attention and the massive amount of research in the space, complete automation in self-driving cars is still quite a distant dream. Even many companies working in this space have admitted that complete automation might be unlikely, with human drivers required for ensuring safety in unpredictable conditions. To understand the level at which this technology now exists, it is important to break down the developments into 5 levels.
- Level 1 mainly refers to vehicles which offer computer assistance for simple driving functions such as for stability control or cruise control
- Level 2 includes vehicles where one feature has been partially automated, such as the automatic braking system
- Level 3 vehicles have a computer handling two or more driving functions which are occurring simultaneously. This could include functions such as cruise control and staying in the correct lane
- Level 4 refers to vehicles where most of the driving functions have been automated and a human is only needed in case unexpected situations arise
- Level 5 includes only vehicles where all functions have been automated and the computer drives the car, with zero human involvement.
While most of the key companies in this space have achieved the Level 4 status, it is only during perfect weather conditions and only along predetermined routes. Companies in the U.S. are offering shuttles to drive their employees to work. However, while these shuttles can for the most part be described as automated, human drivers continue to accompany the vehicles. The only self-driving car currently available to regular consumers is by Cadillac, but even that technology only works with pre-mapped highway routes.
Self-driving cars hit a bump when Uber’s self-driven car hit a pedestrian in 2018. The probability of such instances increasing is why motor insurance will continue to be a mandatory requirement. While third party insurance cover is a prerequisite for driving on Indian roads, the best car insurance offers protection for the vehicle and driver as well. You can apply for Bajaj car insurance on Finserv MARKETS, and get access to cashless servicing at more than 4,000 garages across the country. The insurance premiums start for as little as Rs. 2,072 a year and offer coverage against both manmade and natural disasters.
Most companies working on self-driving cars are using approximately the same kind of technology. Lidar projectors, radar, machine learning and ultrasonic sensors are being utilized in a combination to achieve autonomy in driving. A few startups are also exploring a technology referred to as Vehicle to Everything (V2X) communication. These systems allow cars to interact with traffic lights or even weather services to understand routes better in a dynamic manner, which is expected to prevent accidents.
While these companies work on perfecting such systems, it is important for consumers to insure their vehicles. Car insurance policies, such as those available on Finserv MARKETS, provide coverage for repair and replacement of parts. Apply for Bajaj car insurance today and get access to 24×7 car roadside assistance regardless of where you are. Regardless of the time span within which self-driving cars do become a natural sight on roads all over the world, one thing that won’t change is the need for insurance for these vehicles. In addition to that, not only do you get access to 24×7 assistance regardless of where you are, but you can also get your car serviced cashlessly across a network of more than 4,000 garages.
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