Artificial intelligence is no longer a dream of a faraway future. The technology is here now, and several industries are making use of it to improve production, marketing, customer service, sales, and more.
In the automotive industry, AI is largely talked about in relation to the development of self-driving vehicles, automotive that are able to navigate themselves toward a destination without the help of a human driver. It has been years since the idea of self-driving vehicles has been floated, and years since companies started making efforts to make the technology a reality. With self-driving cars, the roads will be safer, people will be hands-free while driving, and it will also save on gas.
The road to autonomous vehicles has been a long one, filled with obstacles both technical and non-technical. And now, AI is being applied not just to the development of self-driving cars but also to improving vehicle safety overall. Here are the different ways AI is helping automakers create safer vehicles.
Adaptive Cruise Control
ACC (adaptive cruise control) is a technology that helps maintain a safe distance between cars through automatic braking, throttle input, and steering while driving on the highway.
The system uses sensors to detect other cars in front of it and adjusts speed accordingly. This is already available in some production cars, but what makes this technology even safer is when it’s able to predict the movements of the car ahead. To do this, AI looks at previous movements (i.e., speed, trajectory) of the vehicle it’s following and applies that knowledge to make better decisions about how fast or how much to break based on immediate conditions (e.g., weather). Taking into account many environmental factors like surrounding traffic, weather patterns, slopes of roads, etc., allows for increased reaction time not just for ACC but also for other safety systems built into self-driving cars.
Automatic Emergency Braking
AI can also help accelerate the development of automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems, which will be standard in all vehicles in the coming years. AEB is an extension of ACC, where instead of just maintaining a safe distance from other cars on the road, it also automatically slams on your brakes when it senses an object in front of you.
AI helps make this system work faster and with more accuracy, by studying the behavior of a vehicle it’s following and applying that knowledge to one’s own car on the road. For example, if the car in front slows down because it is about to brake, your car can also slow down simultaneously on its own at a rate faster than what you would have done based on your reaction time. It does this by taking into account the speed at which you are currently traveling plus your reaction time to figure out how long it will take for your car to stop completely.
AI can also be helpful in choosing the best braking strategy, whether it’s gentle braking or sudden breaking. By measuring variables like weather conditions, road quality, etc., AI is making emergency braking not just a system that can help prevent a collision, but also a more efficient one.
Other Car Features
AI is also being used in different parts of a vehicle that people least expect. Nowadays, it’s common that all drivers to have a dashcam installation after purchasing a vehicle. A Dashcam is a necessity because footage can be used as evidence for insurance claims or the police if the vehicle is involved in an accident.
Some companies are exploring the use of AI in dashcams to facilitate the processing of images captured. AI can help with identifying objects like traffic signs, number plates, etc., which will make insurance claims faster and more accurate.
The humble sun visor is also getting an AI makeover. Recently, companies such as Bosch introduced sun visors that adapt to the lighting conditions outside. Using cameras, it “sees” when there is bright sunlight and automatically darkens to make the driver’s view in front clear. Moreover, it has proximity sensors to detect if a passenger is seated next to you, which will determine whether the visor should retract.
AI is also getting utilized to automate the car’s interior cooling and heating system. Using machine learning, the car will be able to detect if there are any passengers in it or not. If there is no one else in the vehicle, then the cooling system will switch off entirely.
AI will become a part of the autonomous industry, whether to boost manufacturing or to improve safety on the road. While self-driving cars might take longer to arrive, there are different ways car manufacturers are using AI to make driving better overall.