Do driverless cars really exist? Can we really avoid accidents? The True of the False Junior

While the Mercedes-Benz car group is preparing to market a “Drive Pilot” system that allows the driver in a very specific context to no longer look at the road and let the vehicle decide, whichislandworking, the teenagers participating in Vrai du Faux Junior wonder about autonomous vehicles. Olivier Lascar answers them. He is the editor-in-chief of the digital section of Science et Avenir. It will be released on June 9th Investigation of Elon Musk, the man who defies science (at Alisio Sciences). Elon Musk, head of Tesla, positions himself, among other things, in this niche of autonomous vehicles.

I heard there was a car that could drive itself. Is it true ? Will we soon be able to sleep on the goyou?Asks Calliste.

Yes it is true“Olivier Lascar answers.”There are cars that today drive by themselves. It sounds incredible to say, but it’s even more incredible to see. There are videos available on YouTube of vehicles being driven in the United States, in a state called Arizona, and in a city called Phoenix. In this city you can call the car with your mobile phone. The vehicle arrives and there we see that behind the wheel there is no one, that the steering wheel turns by itself, moves by itself. The car places itself in front of the person who called it, this person sits in the back seat, the car starts, it comes out into the traffic, it stops at the traffic light. It respects the signs signage and it brings this person to their destination“.

The journalist clarifies that it is only a question that is said at this stage, about experiments, very experimental.

“I wonder if in the future we will replace today’s vehicles with autonomous vehicles?”, asks Leandra.

Olivier Lascar replies that there are several degrees in a vehicle’s autonomy. The major automakers have agreed that there are six different levels. “The first levelhe explains, level zero is the one who can do nothing on his own“. In this case, only the pilot has the power.”The last level is level five. It’s the car that does everything on its own “.

The journalist explains that in this case the driver actually has nothing more to do and could even sleep. “It is e.g.he adds, the dream promised by Elon Musk, head of Tesla, and who makes electric and automated cars. He regularly promises that we will get there, and eventually, year after year, we will still not get there. “.

On the other hand, we are moving towards cars that increasingly have a certain degree of autonomy: in capacity, the journalist points out, “to control their speed, to stay strictly in their lanes. There are already such cars on the market that you can buy that will switch to automatic mode, for example in traffic jams, or that can almost park on their own. Olivier Lascar specifies that even in these cases, the driver’s attention must be permanent so that he can regain control of the vehicle at all times.

How can we avoid accidents with self-driving cars? What safety measures are the manufacturers taking?Elea asks.

This is the key question “Olivier Lascar answers. There have been many accidents with cars in automated mode and the problem that ultimately arises is the degree of confidence in these vehicles..

The journalist explains that at Tesla, for example, the automatic driving mode is called “autopilots“, which may indicate that the car is really capable of driving alone. However, he points out,” the brand itself, Tesla says, the driver must be able to intervene in the driving at all times. When you go into automated mode with a vehicle whose operation is called autopilot, you may be inattentive, react too sluggishly, and the drama on the road can occur very quickly..

The journalist adds that in other circumstances, the question of the performance of the vehicle itself may arise. “An autonomous vehicle that is able to evolve on the road on its ownhe explains, is equipped with sensors, eyes, ears, ie cameras, ultrasonic sensors that are able to assess everything around them. Does it work as well as this? Well, some accidents are still being investigated, which in a way casts a veil over the efficiency of self-driving cars. “

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