Learn more: Questions an autonomous car needs to answer

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Where am I?

The world is always changing and we’re constantly moving. Humans sense cues from their environment to help determine where they are. You might use information like seeing a signpost using your eyes or hearing sirens with your ears to help conclude that you are near the hospital. Autonomous vehicles also need a way of knowing where they are. You may think of satellite navigation systems which many vehicles and mobile phones have now, but these systems are often unreliable depending on location and weather conditions. The intelligent systems of autonomous vehicles will use a combination of different sensors, such as cameras, lasers and sonar, to precisely pinpoint where they are on map, no matter the weather or lighting conditions.

What's around me?

Before deciding what to do, an autonomous car will have to determine what’s around it. Just like you wouldn’t want to walk straight into a wall or trip over rock, autonomous vehicles will need a way to identify and track obstacles in their environment. This will mean a system of sensors and algorithms must be in place to recognise pedestrians, other vehicles, buildings, and more. This is especially important for keeping everyone safe, inside and outside of the vehicles.

Autonomous vehicles will use a combination of different sensors, such as cameras, lasers and sonar, to precisely pinpoint where they are on a map, no matter the weather or lighting conditions.

What do I do next?

With all that information coming in, it can be challenging to decide what to do next. Humans make decisions on how to reach their goals based on different priorities. Autonomous vehicle will need to determine what to do next in order to transport you to your destination based on various algorithms. The intelligent software systems within autonomous vehicles will use the information about where they are and what's around them and calculate a safe and efficient route to transport people to their destinations.

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