Chapter 8Autonomous Cars

8.1 Introduction

Autonomous driving has recently garnered the attention of the media due to declaration of success by car makers, system partners and companies. Autonomous driving is synonymous with a concept from science fiction in many minds. Defining the term autonomous driving may help in establishing a more realistic picture of the developments that have to be made in achieving it. A peep into the present discussions on the use of autonomous driving reveals that a general terminology is yet to be defined.

Since the beginning of developments in autonomous driving technology, the word automobile was widespread among technologists. The term automobile was derived from a Greek and a Latin word and was first used when the car was invented. The word was formulated from the Greek word autòs, which indicates self, and the Latin word mobilis, which means mobile. Self-mobile is what is conveyed by the term automobile. It sure had created a sense of supreme joy as the driver did not need the aid of horses anymore. This term had a shortcoming in that it had failed to recognise the fact that the absence of horses had left the vehicle with a loss of autonomy. Horses were accustomed to obey the simple laws through dressage and instructions. Horses thus imparted a certain form of autonomy to the vehicles, which was lacking now.

This metamorphosis from horse carriages to automobiles had also spawned the loss of obstacle-avoidance skills and the occasional ‘autonomous’ ...

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