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Over the past few weeks, we have been looking at Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its application to social media marketing and our daily interactions. Today, we will be looking at the application of AI in autonomous vehicles. This has become a fast-rising technology in the car industry. The running idea behind developing autonomous vehicles is to build vehicles moving from one point to the other with little or no human intervention. The term autonomous is derived from auto meaning self. Therefore, autonomous vehicles refer to self-driving cars with different levels of control. There are different levels of autonomy in self-driving cars and they may range from:

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  • Partially automated driving – The system takes partial control of the vehicle while the driver is responsible for the operation of the vehicle.
  • Highly automated driving – The system takes control of the vehicle for longer periods of time like on the expressway.
  • Fully automated driving – Although, the human user is in the vehicle, the system is responsible for driving the vehicle without any intervention from the user.
  • Completely automated driving – The vehicle navigated through different roads without any assistance from the user.

Whether the level of automation in the vehicle is partial or completely automated, there are still important features that AI play in the working of the system of an autonomous vehicle.

Environmental perception

Although a self-driving car is a future AI is looking at, which has been established in some countries, yet they would not be the only car using the road. There will be other vehicles, buildings and other infrastructure it will encounter. Therefore, in order for it to work effectively and efficiently to the capacity it is dreamt to be, the self-driving vehicle has to receive necessary information about its environment through various sensors, radars and cameras that can capture important data required for it to make decisions.

Navigation System

For a vehicle to be considered self-driving, it must be able to locate its position in the world and plan its path from its current location to its desired destination. This can only be achieved if the vehicle has a sense of direction. Therefore, this vehicle is equipped with a GPS (Global Positioning System) in order to receive information about its location from the satellite. Also, the vehicle is fitted with sensors such as accelerometers and gyroscopes to determine the angle and speed of travel. This would ensure that the vehicle can make navigation decisions in order to plan its path of travel accurately and faster.

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Path Planning

Connected with the navigation system is path planning. Once the vehicle receives information about its location, it can plan its path of travel taking the fastest route to its destination from the list of options. A micro example of this application is seen with Google Maps which receives information about the present location and destination and plans the fastest route based on real-time data it collects on the traffic situation in the area.

Vehicle control

Vehicle control is required for the control of the full functions of the vehicle. This includes cruise control, honking, anti-lock braking system, lights, signalling, seat position, air conditioning regulation, mirror adjustment etc. Based on user data collected over time, the vehicle control system can control the vehicle’s features based on the level of autonomy the vehicle was designed with.


Artificial Intelligence can be used to assess the physical condition of the vehicle. The data gathered can be analyzed for both predictive and prescriptive maintenance. This would ensure that drivers can now replace parts of the vehicles or fix things in the vehicle before the car completely comes to a stop.

With the continuous disruption in the automobile industry by AI and the continuous development of technology, cars can achieve a high level of autonomy that can improve the growth of tech and the progress of future transportation.

Featured Image Source: Robotics Business Review

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This article was first published on 31st October 2019


Aanuoluwapo Olajide is a freelance writer who believes that words are fundamental blocks and are the force of life and death. She is a tech enthusiast, fashion designer and a lover of words.

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One thought on “Five Applications Of AI In Autonomous Vehicles”

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