Autonomous Driving: Context and State-of-the-Art

  • Javier Ibañez-Guzmán
  • Christian Laugier
  • John-David Yoder
  • Sebastian Thrun


Vehicles are evolving into autonomous mobile-connected platforms. The rationale resides on the political and economic will towards a sustainable environment as well as advances in information and communication technologies that are rapidly being introduced into modern passenger vehicles. From a user perspective, safety and convenience are always a major concern. Further, new vehicles should enable people to drive that presently can not as well as to facilitate the continued mobility of the aging population.

Advances are led by endeavors from vehicle manufacturers, the military and academia and development of sensors applicable to ground vehicles. Initially, the motivators are detailed on the reasons that vehicles are being built with intelligent capabilities. An outline of the navigation problem is presented to provide an understanding of the functions needed for a vehicle to navigate autonomously. In order to provide an overall perspective on how technology is converging towards vehicles with autonomous capabilities, advances have been classified into driver centric, network centric and vehicle centric. Vehicle manufacturers are introducing at a rapid pace Advanced Driving Assistance Systems; these are considered as Driver Centric with all functions facilitating driver awareness. This has resulted on the introduction of perception sensors utilizable in traffic situations and technologies that are advancing from simple (targeted to inform drivers) towards the control of the vehicle. The introduction of wireless links onboard vehicles should enable the sharing of information and thus enlarge the situational awareness of drivers as the perceived area is enlarged. Network Centric vehicles provide the means to perceive areas that vehicle onboard sensors alone can not observe and thus grant functions that allow for the deployment of vehicles with autonomous capabilities. Finally, vehicle centric functions are examined; these apply directly to the deployment of autonomous vehicles. Efforts in this realm are not new and thus fundamental work in this area is included. Sensors capable to detect objects in the road network are identified as dictating the pace of developments.

The availability of intelligent sensors, advanced digital maps, and wireless communications technologies together with the availability of electric vehicles should allow for deployment on public streets without any environment modification. Likely, there will first be self-driving cars followed by environment modifications to facilitate their deployment.


Global Navigation Satellite System Global Navigation Satellite System Road Network Autonomous Vehicle Passenger Vehicle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Javier Ibañez-Guzmán
    • 1
  • Christian Laugier
    • 2
  • John-David Yoder
    • 3
  • Sebastian Thrun
    • 4
  1. 1.Multimedia and Driving Assistance SystemsRenault S.A.SGuyancourtFrance
  2. 2.e-Motion Project-TeamINRIA Grenoble Rhône-AlpesSaint Ismier, CedexFrance
  3. 3.Mechanical Engineering DepartmentOhio Northern UniversityAdaUSA
  4. 4.Stanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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