How do Self-driving Cars Work?

The concept of Self-driving cars has been around for years and now with the involvement of companies like Tesla, Google, and Uber, Autonomous car technology is improving. In this comprehensive guide, we will tell you how do self-driving cars work and everything you need to know about them. Sounds interesting? Let’s get started.

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Self-Driving Cars

Self-Driving cars are those cars that can operate without any human assistance. Some people also use the term “Autonomous cars” for self-driving cars. However, there is a difference between these terms when it comes to Autonomy. The professionals have divided the autonomy of these self-driving cars into 5 different layers.

  • Level 0: It is the basic level where human has control over all major systems of the car.
  • Level 1: It is the first level where the system gets control of some aspects of the car such as Cruise control or automatic braking
  • Level 2: On this level, the car takes control of the driving but still it requires human supervision.
  • Level 3: On this level, the car can manage all functions of the car under certain conditions but it will alert the driver when it needs supervision.
  • Level 4: It is the second-highest autonomy level where car will be fully autonomous and can handle majority of the driving scenarios but not all and it will need human assistance.
  • Level 5: On this level, the car is fully capable of handling any situation and it doesn’t require human assistance all.

Now you know about the different levels of autonomy and in 2019, we are still on level 3 and level 4. However, things are getting better every day. Many companies including the tesla are anticipating to complete fully autonomous car technology by the end of 2019 and by 2020, drivers will have access to fully autonomous cars.

How Do Self-Driving Cars Work?

There are tons of companies out there who are working on Self-Driving cars and they use different types of technologies to achieve better results. However, you will find these three technologies in every Self-driving car out there.

IoT Sensors

how do self-driving cars work - car sensors

IoT or Internet of Things is basically a system where computing devices can communicate with each other and share the data. IoT Sensors are one of the major components of Self-Driving cards. Self-Driving cars have the IoT sensors for blind-spot monitoring, forward collision warning, radar, camera, LIDAR and ultrasonic work and these sensors work together to provide all data which is needed for a self-driving to work.

IoT Connectivity

Self-Driving cars also use cloud computing to get the data for traffic, weather, map, adjacent cars and surface conditions which help the car to get aware of its surroundings and make an informed decision.

Self-driving car software

Self-Driving cars come with the Self-driving car software which analyzes the data collected by the IoT sensors and cloud computing and gets the logical result. It is the most important and critical part of self-driving cars because if it is not working properly it could lead the car to the accident.

What are the Challenges with Self-Driving Cars?

Self-Driving car technology is still new and it has a long way to go. However, it is already facing some serious challenges which manufacturers will have to address sooner or later.

  • The technologies used in these Self-Driving cars are not mature enough. For example, Lidar is the technology used by these cars to measure distances, detect road edges and identify lane markings. Now many experts are not sure if two or more Self-driving cars are traveling on the same road, would Lidar signal interfere with one another.
  • In the United States, one of the major challenges is the regulation. Different states will impose the different laws and these laws will change from state to state which will be a major issue for the manufacturers.
  • Accident Liability is another major challenges if someone is hit by the Self-Driving car, who will be liable? The company or the passenger. It would be also unfair to hold the passenger accountable as the driver would not even have the control of the car. Also thousands of people die in car crashes every year in the US, with the use of self-driving cars, this number will reduce but still the cybersecurity is one of the major concern.

Benefits of Self-Driving Cars?

Technology makes life easier and Self-Driving Cars will also bring a lot of benefits which will help us. Following are some of the Benefits of Self-Driving Cars

  • Human error is the major factor in car crashes and with self-driving cars, we can reduce is the car crashes to great extent.
  • People with disabilities will be able to move from one location to another with a self-driving car.
  • Having self-driving cars on the roads will result in fewer crashes which will ultimately lead to reduced congestion on the road.
  • It will also solve the parking issues as the Self-driving car will be able to go to the designated place after leaving the passenger on the desired location.


Self-Driving Cars are the future of transportation and we will have fully autonomous cars sooner rather than later. Companies like Uber, Tesla, Nissan, and other major automakers are developing then self-driving technologies that will be available to users in the near future. Let us know your thoughts about the Self-driving cars in the comment section below. Also, visit our website for more interesting guides.

October 19, 2019

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