Can any car drive by itself, in theory?

2023 © Wikiask
Main topic: Tech
Short answer:
  • Yes.
  • Through the use of autonomous driving technologies, a car can drive itself. This technology combines hardware and software in equal measure.
  • Radar, lidar, cameras, and a powerful AI computation platform are just a few of the sensors that make up the hardware. On the other side, the software analyses all the data from the sensors and decides which driving choices to make.

A self-driving car, sometimes referred to as an autonomous car, is a vehicle that can sense its surroundings and move safely with little or no human interaction. Most of the time, it uses a mix of sensor and imaging technologies, including radar, lidar, and cameras. The technology behind autonomous vehicles has advanced so that automakers can no longer ignore it. Because the market for autonomous cars may one day be worth billions of dollars, almost every major carmaker is working feverishly to build and improve autonomous vehicles.[1] Many major corporations, including Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, and others, have poured billions of dollars into developing autonomous technologies.[2]

Autonomous Driving, Source:

Waymo, a Google company, is operating a commercial ride-hailing service[edit]

Waymo self-driving car front view.gk

Waymo maintains a fleet of autonomous electric Jaguar I-PACE cars. These vehicles now provide services to the general public in Phoenix, Arizona, and are currently undergoing testing by Waymo workers in San Francisco, California. The people in Phoenix can use the Waymo One app to use these driverless cars, which do not need non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) or specified pickups. These cars do not have a driver in the vehicle or remotely.[3]

Sensors, Cameras, Lidars, GPS, Radar, and an intelligent computer is the heart of self-driving cars[edit]

Autonomous Driving Car Sensor System, Source: Flickr

Sensors: Like humans, automobiles that drive themselves need to detect their surroundings to maneuver correctly. People communicate with their surroundings via their senses of hearing, sight, taste, and smell, as well as through touch. Developers of autonomous automobile technology equip self-driving vehicles with sophisticated sensor networks that can perceive comparably.

Radar:  Radar transmitters allow autonomous vehicles to broadcast radio waves in predetermined directions. When waves are reflected back to the vehicle's radar receiver, the automobile can determine information about the surrounding environment, such as the angle, range, and velocity of various objects.

Camera: Images captured by autonomous cars' high-resolution digital cameras allow these vehicles to understand their surroundings better. Self-driving vehicles may use camera pictures to "see" and interpret environmental features (such as signs, traffic signals, and animals) in a manner that is analogous to how humans perceive them.

Lidar: Lidar stands for "light detection and ranging," a technique used by self-driving automobiles to scan their surroundings using lasers. Lidar systems monitor the length of time between the emission of a laser signal and the detection of the same light beam by its photodetectors after it has been reflected off a physical surface. The speed of light is the primary factor that is used in the calculation of distances by lidar. When a lidar photodetector takes longer to get a return light signal from an object, it indicates that the object is farther away.[4][5]

Concept of LiDAR

GPS: Self-driving automobiles can geolocate themselves, producing numerical coordinates (such as latitude and longitude) that reflect their actual positions in space. They also can navigate by integrating the coordinates of their real-time GPS devices with those of other digital maps.[6][7]

5 Levels of driver assistance technology (Autonomy) advancements, self-driving cars will have to pass through[edit]

Levels of Driving Automation
  • Level 1 (Driver Assistance)
  • Level 2 (Partial Driving Automation)
  • Level 3 (Conditional Driving Automation)
  • Level 4 (High Driving Automation)
  • Level 5 (Full Driving Automation)[8]


  1. "Self-Driving Cars Could Change the Auto Industry (GM, F)". Investopedia. Retrieved 2022-11-04.
  2. "Autonomous Vehicles & Car Companies l CB Insights". CB Insights Research. 2020-12-16. Retrieved 2022-11-04.
  3. "FAQ – Waymo". Retrieved 2022-11-04.
  4. "Introduction to Autonomous Vehicle Theory". Paperspace Blog. 2021-09-23. Retrieved 2022-11-04.
  5. Ni, Jianjun; Chen, Yinan; Chen, Yan; Zhu, Jinxiu; Ali, Deena; Cao, Weidong (2020-01). "A Survey on Theories and Applications for Self-Driving Cars Based on Deep Learning Methods". Applied Sciences. 10 (8): 2749. doi:10.3390/app10082749. ISSN 2076-3417. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  6. "How Self-driving Cars Work: Sensor Systems". Udacity. 2021-03-03. Retrieved 2022-11-04.
  7. "FAQ – Waymo". Retrieved 2022-11-04.
  8. "The 6 Levels of Vehicle Autonomy Explained | Synopsys Automotive". Retrieved 2022-11-04.