Autopilot will take: how new technologies are changing our world
Autonomous cars are often found in cinema and in popular culture in general. But today this is no longer the plot of a work of art, but our reality: in recent years, a noticeable breakthrough has occurred in this area. The data from the sensors has become accurate enough so that the car can "see" the surrounding world in detail, and the computing power is now enough for a quick analysis of this data. Modern drones are able to determine their position in space with centimeter accuracy, quickly recognize objects around, predict their behavior in the next seconds, and plan their route based on this information.
Companies working on autonomous control technology have already traveled millions of kilometers in unmanned mode. Waymo and Yandex even carried out trial launches of unmanned taxi services in several cities. So far, when driving around the city in these cars there is always an engineer who controls the movement.
So far, the participants in this market have not come to a consensus about when fully unmanned vehicles will be able to enter the planet’s roads. According to the developers of Yandex unmanned vehicle service, in just three to five years, the technology may become sophisticated enough to be widely used in large cities. At the same time, American developers believe that you should not expect this before 2030. But Elon Musk promises in 2020 the appearance of the first million Taxla Robotaxi.
The massive use of unmanned cargo transportation in the near future is quite realistic: driving along the highway is still much easier than moving along complex urban routes. For example, UPS already uses autonomous trucks, although accompanied by two specialists, to transport parcels between the company's warehouses within the state of Arizona.
In the future, drones can replace public transport. This is the easiest task: the route is fixed, the stops are known. In several cities of China, as well as in Sweden and Switzerland, unmanned buses have successfully passed the test and are already transporting passengers – along with traditional modes of public transport.
Important advantages of drones are saving the driver’s time (after all, instead of the road, you can concentrate on more important things!) And cheaper transportation. And in the future, where only such robotic cars will remain, it will help to more efficiently exploit the roads: after all, the flow of cars can be controlled centrally.
Every year, modern cars are becoming smarter. We can already control some functions of the car with the help of a voice, calculate the most comfortable route without traffic jams and repair work, as well as remotely pay for a gas station. For machines connected to the Network, there is a separate term – connected cars.
Such cars can exchange information with other cars, keep in touch with home and office, read information about road infrastructure. There is Internet on board, and the driver can receive traffic notifications, traffic accident information, as well as real-time weather forecasts and much, much more.
These communication capabilities have become a reality thanks to the use of such technologies:
V2V (Vehicle-to-Vehicle) provides data exchange between cars – you can learn about the speed, direction of movement and the location of vehicles on the road.
V2I (Vehicle ‑ to ‑ Infrastructure) communicates with the surrounding vehicle.
Russian solution – Yandex.Auto
At the beginning of 2019, Yandex.Avto on-board computers appeared on sale. This is a full-fledged hardware + software system with Yandex services on board that connect the car to the Internet and establish data exchange. In fact, it is a device that transforms even inexpensive cars to connected cars.
Yandex.Auto exists in three formats:
The platform, which is put on the standard headunits on the assembly line in new cars. For example, it is offered in the new Geely Atlas, Nissan X ‑ Trail, Renault Kaptur Play, Toyota Camry, Nissan Qashqai. You can test the platform in the Yandex.Drive car sharing. A smart trip computer is installed in almost all cars.
An on-board computer, which is bought separately and connects an existing car to the Internet. On popular models (Hyundai, Kia, Lada, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Renault, Skoda, Toyota, Volkswagen), this system can replace the native head unit. In this case, Yandex.Auto is exactly the on-board computer, and not an add-on like CarPlay or Android Auto. It works without a smartphone and integrates with machine systems. So, to communicate with “Alice” car speakers and microphones are used, and you can call it by pressing the steering button. The current list of supported vehicles is here, and it is actively expanding.
The projected Yandex.Auto solution, which displays the navigator on a smartphone on the screen of the car’s head unit using a cable connection. Now the solution is supported in Renault Arkana and JLR cars.
The on-board computer is based on the 4-core 1.2 GHz Allwinner T3 chipset, which comes with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal memory. The on-board computer supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, as well as 3G and 4G ‑ networks via modem. It works with GPS and GLONASS, and also catches FM radio. There are AUX connectors for connecting speakers and USB for flash drives and charging gadgets. The slot for microSD-cards allows you to increase the amount of memory.
The main services of the company are already integrated in Yandex.Avto: Navigator, Music, Browser and Weather. There is support for the virtual assistant "Alice" – she is responsible for voice control of the on-board computer. He also knows how to read news, play games, for example, in Cities and Believe – Do Not Believe, voice the weather forecast and traffic levels, advise places worth visiting.
End-user scenarios are available for the user: you can build a route on a smartphone at home, and then the system itself will transfer it to the on-board computer screen. And the Navigator application on your smartphone will tell you where the car is parked.
Navigator is one of the most relevant Yandex.Auto functions for the driver. The map is displayed on the large screen of the car, and the system monitors traffic jams in real time and rearranges routes so that you get faster. It also warns about radar and speed limits and remembers where the car is parked. You can build a path in the navigator by voice – which means that you do not need to be distracted and take your hands off the steering wheel. Say: “Let's go home!” – and the navigator will lay the route.
Voice control is one of the key functions of Yandex.Avto, which the developers of the on-board computer offer to use for drivers. This allows, without being distracted from the road, to set and change the route, switch the track or radio station, find out about the weather for tomorrow, and ask something from Alice. Ask her a question: “Alice, what can you do?” – and she will tell about her possibilities. And they are not limited to using navigation: if you are bored in traffic, Alice can play with you in the cities and even tell you what the weather is like.
And with the help of this on-board computer, you can remotely pay for fuel at city gas stations. Just select the column directly on the screen and click "Pay."
A rear-view camera is connected to the on-board computer, if it is equipped as standard with the vehicle. When you turn on the reverse gear, the picture from the camera is automatically displayed on the Yandex.Auto screen.
With this device, you can log into your Yandex account and listen to songs from your own music library in Yandex.Music. Supported and playback from a flash drive (formats WMA, AAC, MP3), as well as radio and podcasts.
With Yandex.Auto, the car ceases to be just a means of transportation. It becomes rather a full-fledged gadget that connects to the Internet and takes on some of the functions of the driver, making the process of controlling the machine more comfortable.