Issues of Autonomous Cars

The issues which autonomous cars are facing are roughly divided into three categories.

Technical Issues

Technical Issues of Sensing
Improvement Detection Performance
Since the car carries out running environment recognition instead of the driver and determines the danger decision and the action to be taken, it needs advanced detection functions and a higher reliability than the driving support system.
Improvement of Object Recognition Performance (Local Dynamic Map)
It is necessary to identify the objects existing in the vicinity of the vehicle (traffic signals, road signs, utility poles, structures such as guardrails, roads and road vehicles, cars on the road, pedestrians, bicycles) and recognition of the direction of movement.
Detection of Small Objects
When doing automatic parking, a method to detect the distance between small obstacles on the road, protrusions in the air, and objects existing on the side of the vehicle with high precision is required.
Technical Issues Related to Judgment and Planning
It is required to realize techniques that can be acquired by the many years of experience of human drivers and to make preventive judgments.
It is expected to solve problems by combining artificial intelligence technology and cooperation with other vehicles, motorcycles, pedestrians and road infrastructure.
Safety and Reliability of Control System
When the autonomous operation system fails, it is difficult for the driver to immediately change to the system and to operate. Therefore, a "fail-safe" function that does not cause abnormal operation and a "Redundancy" function to continue the automatic running of the system when the system fails is required. It is already used in aircraft and railway systems.
Security Technical Issues
If communication data is altered by hacking or computer viruses, there is a possibility that the vehicle may drive recklessly, so we need to develop encryption technology.

Non-technical Issues

Issues of Law Maintenance
Under the law on road traffic, "Geneva Road Traffic Convention" and "Road Traffic Act" are important. These stipulate that the existence of a driver is necessary for vehicle operation. In other words, unmanned driving is impossible under current law. Also in Japan's current law vehicles with no handle cars are not allowed to run on the public roads.
Driver's Responsibility
The current road transportation system is based on the assumption that the driver will be responsible for the vehicle. However, in autonomous operation, the driver is out of the driving loop, so they are considering to review the responsibilities for the driver. If an accident happens, it is said that the driver is responsible up to level 2, but level 3 is not clear. Therefore, there is a possibility that responsibility may be given not only to the owner of the car but also to the automobile manufacturer.
Social Relevance
Since it is thought that autonomous cars often run in combination with other manual driving vehicles, there is a danger of inducing accidents with some influence on other vehicles in row running.
Safety, Reliability, Functional Safety and Security
Due to cyber attacks, there is a danger that a car can be driven recklessly.
Ethical Issues
The question of how to make ethical judgments, such as how to judge when an accident was inevitable, is a problem.

Human Factor Issues

You may fall into a dangerous situation due to overconfidence in the driver's system.
It is also a question whether the driver can accept autonomous operation or not.

There are still many problems in realizing and spreading autonomous cars, so it is currently the case that various solutions are being sought.

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