AI in Self-driving Cars and How does It Work

Self-driving cars are also called "autonomous cars" because they use sensors and software to drive the vehicles. To operate self-driving cars there is no need for human drivers to take control to run the car properly because self-driving cars rely on AI. Self-driving automobile systems rely on artificial intelligence. Self-driving cars use large amounts of data from image recognition systems to operate the car properly. Self-driving car works with machine learning and neural networks to make decisions in a situation. In short, self-driving cars are smart and can operate to achieve a much higher level of complexity and accuracy even in congested cities. In this article, we will discuss self-driving cars and how AI works in self-driving cars.

Definition of self-driving car

A self-driving car is a vehicle capable of sensing its surroundings and operating without human involvement. Self-driving cars are also called "autonomous cars" because they use sensors and software to operate the cars. To operate a self-driving car a human passenger is not needed to take control of the vehicle at any time, nor is a human passenger needed to be present in the car at all. A self-driving car is powered by AI and can go anywhere just like a traditional car goes and do everything that a trained human driver does. A self-driving car can be self-parked by sizing up a free spot and automatically steering into it using AI technology. The driver only needs to control the accelerator and brake pedals while he uses autonomous cars because self-driving cars can control everything by themselves. Currently, the Society of Automotive Engineers has categorized vehicles into 6 levels according to the capability of different levels of driving automation ranging from Level 0 to Level 5. The U.S. Department of Transportation has adopted these levels.  Every level of self-driving cars works by using deep learning and multi-layered neural network the most advanced AI technologies that work likewise to the human brain.

Definition of self-driving car

How do self-driving cars work?

The working of autonomous cars depends on sensors, actuators, complex algorithms, deep learning systems, artificial intelligence, and powerful processors to run the software. A self-driving car has a variety of sensors situated in different parts of the vehicle and it uses these sensors to create and maintain a map of its surroundings. AI in self-driving car help to monitor the position of nearby vehicles with Rader sensors. Video cameras in an autonomous car detect traffic lights, read road signs, monitor the position of other vehicles, and look the pedestrians. Lidar sensors of autonomous cars bounce light off the car's surroundings to measure distances, identify road edges, and detect lane markings. Then sophisticated software processes all this sensory input plans a path and sends all the instructions to the car's actuators, which control braking, acceleration, and steering to automatically operate the car.

How do self-driving cars work?

Pros and Cons of self-driving car

Pros of self-driving cars

Prevent car crashes

Most of the crashes are because of human mistakes. Self-driving cars based on Sophisticated software and algorithms will essentially stop costly human error. Drunk or distracted driving is considered the major cause of accidents, but it will not be a factor with self-driving cars. It is assessed that self-driving cars can lower accident rates by up to 90%.

Cost saving for the society

One of the best advantages of a self-driving car is the societal cost savings. It is estimated that autonomous vehicles can help save society around $800 billion per year because the decrease in car crash-related costs, reduced strain on the healthcare system, more efficient mode of transportation, adequate fuel savings, and more can all contribute to the overall to save cost for the society.

Efficient traffic

One of the major benefits is that self-driving cars can communicate with each other. With this communication ability in real-time, cars would be able to efficiently traffic at optimized distances from each other.

Better access and efficient mode of transportation

The self-driving cars could be a safe and efficient mode of transportation for those people who cannot or choose not to drive. Disable or the elder people can be able to get into a self-driving car without putting others at risk.

Environment friendly

Another benefit of using self-driving cars is the pollution-free environment. Due to AI in self-driving cars will likely be electric rather than utilizing internal-combustion engines. In that sense, they will contribute to reducing urban CO2 emissions by 80% worldwide to make the environment more sustainable and friendlier.

Cons of self-driving cars

Security issues & Malfunctions

One of the potential disadvantages of using AI in self-driving cars is the possibility of hacking. Self-driving cars would need to share the same network protocol to have automated cars talk and coordinate with each other. There would be susceptible to a hack if a large number of cars share the same network.

Loss in Job

People who rely on driving to make a living may lose their careers obsolete with the introduction of autonomous cars. People who are in the trucking industry, bus drivers, and taxi drivers, will all need to find new jobs because of self-driving cars.

Initial expenses

No doubt, self-driving cars will produce significant societal cost savings in the long term, but the initial expenses of automated vehicles may be astronomical. It is estimated by some experts it may cost an additional $250,000 per vehicle to own a fully self-driving car. So, its initial cost is too much.

Errors in machine

Although most people agree that self-driving cars will likely prevent more accidents from happening, they don't eliminate the risk of accidents caused by machine error. Moreover, if the software or sensor or, any part of the vehicle fails, an autonomous vehicle could put the driver at risk.

Moral Machine predicament

Another one of the cons of autonomous cars is their lack of ability to make judgments between multiple unfavorable consequences.  The data collected shows wide differences amongst different people groups, which is making it difficult to program any definitive answer for self-driving cars in multiple unfavorable situations.

Prospects of self-driving cars

The fully autonomous cars are yet not available to the general public although they are undergoing testing in several places of the world. The prospect ranges these cars are from the technological and legislative to the environmental and intellectual. Hopefully, if we Overcome the regulatory and technical challenges regarding AI in self-driving cars then these autonomous cars can serve mankind in various ways and change our lives and carve out a route in the customer marketplace. Moreover, it is predicted that autonomous vehicles will be sufficiently reliable and affordable by replacing most human driving, providing autonomous driving, lowering driver anxiety, and tedium, and being a cure-all for congestion, accident, and pollution crises. According to a report, AI in self-driving cars can make them be mobile bedrooms, playrooms, and offices to allow passengers to rest or be formative while traveling.


Self-driving cars will be sufficiently reliable and affordable to make the environment friendly. It is predicted that autonomous cars can replace most human driving by providing autonomous driving. There will be low driver anxiety and tedium. AI in self-driving cars can be a cure-all for congestion, accident, and pollution crises to allow passengers to rest or be enjoying while traveling. Self-driving cars are really smart and can be operated to achieve much accuracy and comfort during driving even in congested cities.

Mia Woods
Senior Editor

Mia Woods is a senior editor and guest writer at TopTen.AI, specializing in news, topical, and popular science articles. With a strong passion for these subjects, Mia has conducted extensive research over the years. And Mia has achieved impressive results in these areas and has worked with top media organizations to provide them with high-quality articles. As an important member of TopTen.AI, Mia strives to deliver accurate, real-time, objective information and provide insight through her passionate articles. So that readers can fully understand the latest news developments and scientific progress, broaden their horizons, and deepen their understanding of all aspects of the world.