In this latest episode of Roads, Rails, & Rides host Jeb Morris sits down with, Robert Day, Director of Autonomous Vehicles at ARM. Our conversation starts with just what ARM is and how their technology touches our everyday lives. More specifically, how their technology is making autonomous vehicle concepts into a reality.
Robert breaks down the field of autonomous vehicles into two platforms: 1) cars that we drive in, applications where self-driving features are introduced to assist us; and 2) cars that we sit in, applications in which the rider has no control over the movements of the vehicle. The latter of the two is what Robert sees as more likely to be introduced first. These fit-for-purpose vehicles, using the ODD (Operational Design Domain) concept, will likely be in use within the next three to four years for the movement of goods. The car that we drive in platform continues to improve with self-driving features like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and automatic breaking, but the final burden of safety still falls on the driver. The greatest challenge of these new self-driving technologies operating the vehicle is keeping the driver engaged. Robert describes how the use of on-board cameras, to monitor the habits of the driver, are being implemented to ensure those safety standards are met. In terms of commercial trucking applications, Robert describes vehicle platooning as a way of moving products that combines the technologies. Doing so allows an increased number of self-driving platforms to be controlled by just one steward. This method is also beneficial in offsetting the high costs associated with getting the new technology funded.
In our conversation, Robert also discusses how California has their own Autonomous Vehicle Disengagement Report. A database of autonomous miles driven, and the number of system disengagements made. The annual report for 2019 has contributions from thirty-six different companies. Additionally in California, the DMV is now issuing three different type of autonomous vehicle permits. Including a permit for platforms which do not have traditionally required safety features like a driver windshield or steering wheel.
The future of self-driving platforms is likely to start in smaller segments like delivery of goods and first mile/last mile passenger initiatives. But make no mistake, self-driving cars are definitely on their way to where you live. And thanks to organizations like ARM, that technology is being made better every day through the efforts of individuals like Robert Day.