This autonomous tech supplier wants to leave driving choice in the hands of humans

Veoneer arranged a test course with various obstacles to showcase its technology, the way it works and the smoothness of operation.

Veoneer arranged a test course with various obstacles to showcase its technology, the way it works and the smoothness of operation.

Veoneer arranged a test course with various obstacles to showcase its technology, the way it works and the smoothness of operation.

Veoneer arranged a test course with various obstacles to showcase its technology, the way it works and the smoothness of operation.

Veoneer arranged a test course with various obstacles to showcase its technology, the way it works and the smoothness of operation.

Veoneer arranged a test course with various obstacles to showcase its technology, the way it works and the smoothness of operation.

Veoneer arranged a test course with various obstacles to showcase its technology, the way it works and the smoothness of operation.

Veoneer arranged a test course with various obstacles to showcase its technology, the way it works and the smoothness of operation.

Veoneer arranged a test course with various obstacles to showcase its technology, the way it works and the smoothness of operation.

Veoneer arranged a test course with various obstacles to showcase its technology, the way it works and the smoothness of operation.

The Grim Reaper’s clutch on humans driving their own cars is weak yet; but it’s also not letting go. As technologies like adaptive cruise control and automated emergency braking become more widely available, not to mention Tesla’s Autopilot, some fear the end is nigh. But a take breath. Automation is hard. And autonomous pods whizzing you about is a long way off.

Driving is foolish, dangerous, messy, and we love it. That being the case, it’s good news then that Veoneer (an automotive supplier recently split from Autoliv) seems in no rush to remove steering wheels from automobiles. Quite the opposite, in fact. It just wants you to not drive when you don’t want to. “We want to get to a system where you push a button and read a book,” Chris Van Dan Elzen, VP of Product Strategy said. In other words, when you want to drive, great. When you don’t, great

Working toward that goal, Veoneer showed off a bunch of technology, including radar, LiDar, and stereo camera technologies. All of them offer different ways for the car to “see” the road and conditions around it. The showcase piece, however, is something they call Learning Intelligent Vehicle, or LIV. Using a suite of technologies, LIV pays attention to the road and the driver using both cameras and sensors. As a result, LIV notices if the driver is distracted or otherwise occupied and gives audible and visual signals to disrupt the distraction.

That may sound awfully Big-Brother like, and it is. But I can attest that if you’re paying attention, the system leaves you alone. And if you’re not, it gets your attention back to driving, and will also help out when needed. As an enthusiast, you know you see half-hearted driving all the time and feel those folks deserve a slap on the wrist. Well, this is that slap.

Again, if this freaks you out a little bit, take a breath, as there’s another limitation to these technologies: power. On average, level three systems: adaptive cruise control, lane-change assist, etc. take about 100 watts of power to operate. Level four systems, or ones that can take over all of the driving some of the time, require 2500 watts of power.

Automation is indeed coming, but at a very careful and cautious pace. With luck, in the future you can still enjoy epic drives through the canyon and then press a button and pick up your latest issue of Autoweek when it’s time to commute to work.

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