Ultrasonic Technology in Self-Driving Cars

Ultrasonic Technology in Self-Driving Cars

Today, self-driving cars are all the hype, and rightfully so! The advancements of ultrasonic technology have significantly increased in recent years, providing people with new technology and new conveniences, unlike any time before in history.

Ultrasonic technology is related to the use of barely audible and even inaudible sound waves that can transmit digital data. People have commonly encountered ultrasonic technology and transmission when signing onto a store’s Wi-Fi for a seamless experience, among notable other examples of the technology’s use today in society.

Now, ultrasonic is capable of even more challenging projects than Wi-Fi connection, such as self-driving cars.

Early Uses for Ultrasonic Technology in Vehicles

For many years, ultrasonic sensors in cars have been more commonly part of the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS). However, recent developments have led to new expectations for ultrasonic user data to connect and power up applications.

Ultrasonic sensors help cars determine space around the vehicle to avoid collisions. These are also the same sensors that help with parking, as has been seen for over a decade. In addition, the same technology is now capable of self-driving vehicles.

How Ultrasonic Sensors Can Self-Drive Cars

Self-driving cars have been discussed for many years, but now they are more or less a reality. With ultrasonic sensors, people have been able to tailor this technology to create more accessibility. Autonomous driving systems were the first step, using ultrasonic sensors to detect nearly 360 degrees around the vehicle.

However, this has now transferred into the self-driving capabilities of models like the Tesla Model S, or Model X. Volvo has also created their self-driving car, driving at consistent but slow speeds to detect dangers in the immediate vicinity.

Advancements to Create Long- and Short-Range Sensors

In both of these vehicles, the same ultrasonic technology was adapted to employ long-range ultrasonic sensors that also can use close-range sensors if needed in the Auto Pilot feature. These sensors have been created to send out short ultrasonic impulses that are bounced back when they encounter obstacles. With the appropriate identification of how far away an object is, these sensors can react and communicate to the vehicle.

The precision of these sensors is fascinating, as they are typically available in three compatible variants. First, there is the detection range of 15 centimeters to 2.5 meters, with an object presence of 6 centimeters. Second, there is the detection of a range of 15 centimeters to 4.5 meters with an object presence of 3 centimeters.

Finally, the last available sensor has a detection range of 15 centimeters to 5.5 meters, with an object presence of the same 3 centimeters. Again, these are based on the requirements of the technology being used. For example, for self-driving cars, the sensors typically have a minimum 15-centimeter to 2-6 meter range with a narrow vertical sensing range to avoid the earth’s reflections.

Ultrasonic Technology and Its Future

With ultrasonic technology for self-driving cars, the future provides ample possibilities. Beyond the expectation of more car companies creating autonomous vehicles, there is also the possibility of this being used for other transportation, such as buses, trains, planes, and boats. Nevertheless, the limits of ultrasonic technology have not been met yet, leading to a promising future for multiple industries, as well as science and technology enthusiasts globally.

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