How many of us actually think about automation and safety when we drive our cars? Rest assured, the Department of Transportation has a well thought-out plan which has been documented in a series of reports. In 2017, DOT issued Automated Driving Systems, A Vision for Safety 2.0. In 2018, the DOT expanded the scope of their guidance to all surface on-road transportation systems when they issued Preparing for the Future of Transportation: Automated Vehicles 3.0. Most recently, in 2020, DOT again expanded the scope of their guidance when they issued Ensuring American Leadership in Automated Vehicle Technologies: Automated Vehicles 4.0.
The concepts described in this series of reports date back to second half of the twentieth century (1950 -2000) when engineers concentrated on the most rudimentary safety and convenience features such as seat belts, cruise control, and anti-lock brakes. During the next 10 years ( 2000 – 2010 ), engineers worked on advanced safety features like blind spot detection, and warnings for lane departure and forward collisions. These advances simply alerted the driver to a potential safety issue, but still did nothing to remedy the situation. From 2010 to 2016, engineers came up with driver assistance features like automatic emergency braking and lane centering assist. These features were the start of the path toward fully automated vehicles. From 2016 to 2025, we will become acquainted with partially automated safety features like adaptive cruise control and self-park. All of this should lead us to a fully automated vehicle capable of driving on highways using autopilot in the years following 2025. It has been a relatively short span of time, and there have been many advances in automated vehicle technology.
As automobile drivers, we are not really sure how these automated systems work. We simply know that they work, and we are glad that they are there to help us out. Behind the scenes, however, engineers and scientist are thinking about the requirements and designs and continuously developing ways to advance the state of the art.
While radars were once only associated with complex military systems, they are becoming more common today in cars that require them for many of the automated features that have been developed over the years. Simple radar technology is behind many of the collision avoidance features in today’s cars, and it was instrumental in turning simple cruise control into adaptive cruise control. In order for automated features in cars to advance, however, so to must the state of the art in radar. One such advance in radar technology is its ability to not only detect a target, but to track it too. And then, another advance is its ability to track multiple targets at the same time. Advances in this technology will truly advance our ability to move closer to the goal a fully automated vehicle.
To learn more about advances in multi target tracking, consider enrolling in the upcoming offering of ATI’s Multi Target Tracking and Multi Sensor Data Fusion. Also, take a look at the schedule of upcoming ATI courses here.