Smart cities can help accelerate autonomous driving speed

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Autonomous Vehicle
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Finland-based self-driving tech company Sensible 4 which is famous for its award-winning software that enables autonomous driving in all weather conditions expects that smart cities will have a key role in increasing the speed of autonomous vehicles.

The unique technology employed in the Sensible 4 software doesn’t require purpose-built infrastructure to navigate, but in the future, relevant real-time data could add on to its driving standards.

Basically, self-driving vehicles are known for their slow speed which is about 20 km per hour. When compared to highway speeds Sensible 4’s fastest autonomous vehicle with 30-40 km per hour is also slow.

“For public transportation in urban areas, our speed is enough and the speed is actually higher than other similar vehicles can reach currently,” says Harri Santamala, CEO of Sensible 4.

In the future, self-driving vehicles are expected to reduce the traffic to two or three seconds. For example, in city areas, where the speed limit is 30 or 40 km per hour, the braking time and distance will be short which means that stopping the vehicle will be safe and smooth.

Smart city support

Self-driving vehicles can, of course, drive faster but to make it safe it needs more preparation. Even though it doesn’t require any advanced infrastructure, smart cities can support autonomous driving and help to reach better standards, like a higher speed.

Harri Santamala
Harri Santamala
Sensible 4

“Higher speeds require longer braking distance and time. This extends the requirements for predicting the traffic, which is impossible at highway speeds. To reach safe driving at higher speeds the autonomous vehicle would have to be sure there are no traffic disturbances ahead, far beyond the measuring distance of on-board sensors. For this we need smart infrastructure.”

“We believe that autonomous vehicles will be on urban roads shortly, within a few years. Building smart cities require cooperation and time, so cities should start planning how their infrastructure supports these vehicles. Also, on the governmental level, the legislation should be prepared for the change,” Santamala added.

The countries that aim to be an early adopter of the coming generation’s technology can consider self-driving vehicles. They can build infrastructure to provide real-time data to help predict weather, traffic and road conditions and help to have smooth and safe experiences even at higher speeds.

Smart cities can have information transmitted to autonomous vehicles through high-speed 5G networks and fixed sensors at intersections.