How do self-driving cars make decisions?

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Main topic: Tech
Other topics: Self-driving cars
Short answer:
  • Algorithms for object detection, object categorization, and object interpretation are used by self-driving automobiles to make decisions.
  • Radar, lidar, and cameras are among the sensor and image technologies that self-driving vehicles often utilize in this decision-making process.

Self-driving cars using artificial intelligence to make decisions[edit]

Using restricted artificial intelligence, driverless automobiles are taught to judge when and where to apply the brakes and where and when to steer. They are built using a variety of sensors, cameras, and lasers that measure distance (lidar), all of which send data to a central computer. The computer employs AI to analyze the inputs and arrive at a conclusion.

Artificial intelligence in the automotive industry is increasingly replacing human drivers by making it possible for automobiles to drive themselves using sensors to acquire information about their surroundings. Customers can now call for self-driving taxis from businesses such as Waymo.[1] In Shenzhen, Alibaba's AutoX division has introduced a fleet of completely autonomous vehicles with no accompanying safety drivers. The process combines several different algorithms. These algorithms analyze the meaning of road signs, locate the appropriate lanes, and locate intersections to decide which driving choices to make.[2]

AI in Car, Source: Flickr

To design systems capable of driving themselves, developers of self-driving vehicles make use of massive volumes of data generated by image recognition systems in conjunction with machine learning and neural networks. Also See

Cameras, Radar, and Lidar: The three major sensors used by self-driving cars to make decisions[edit]

Autonomous Driving Car Sensor System, Source: Flickr

Self-driving vehicles, just like humans, need to be able to detect their environment to travel safely. 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.

These sensors provide the vehicle with an uninterrupted picture of the surroundings. They assist the car in determining the position, velocity, and three-dimensional structure of things in its immediate vicinity. In addition, inertial measurement units, which monitor and regulate both acceleration and position, are included in the construction of autonomous vehicles.[3][4]

Can self-driving cars make an ethical decision? Likely not.[edit]

Even while the technology is very straightforward, it won't be long until automobiles are superior to people in these fundamental aspects of driving. To believe that self-driving automobiles should also be capable of forming moral judgments is an unreasonable expectation. If we insist on morally responsible behavior from autonomous cars, we won't get there for many more decades. Because of limitations in the artificial intelligence technologies used in self-driving automobiles, the vehicles won't be able to reach these conclusions. The unfortunate truth is that to program automobiles with such sophisticated decision-making capabilities; artificial general intelligence would need to be developed first, which is now not conceivable.

Self-driving vehicles are designed to avoid collisions wherever possible and slow down as much as possible upon contact if this is not possible. Despite this, just like humans, they cannot make a moral choice before an unpredictable event. However, self-driving vehicles will be safer than cars driven by humans because they will be more vigilant, will be able to respond more quickly, and will utilize the full capabilities of their braking systems in the event of an accident.[5]


  1. "FAQ – Waymo". Retrieved 2022-11-06.
  2. "How Machine Learning in Automotive Makes Self-Driving Cars a Reality | Mindy Support Outsourcing". Retrieved 2022-11-06.
  3. "How Self-driving Cars Work: Sensor Systems". Udacity. 2021-03-03. Retrieved 2022-11-06.
  4. "What is an Autonomous Car? – How Self-Driving Cars Work | Synopsys". Retrieved 2022-11-06.
  5. Mcdermid, John; Conversation, The. "Self-driving cars: why we can't expect them to be 'moral'". Retrieved 2022-11-06.