We all love the 2CV dearly, but we bet there are some things about the little workhorse you didn’t know about. Here they are!
It might seem hard to believe, but Citroen is genuinely confident that by 2020, it is possible for consumers to go to a showroom, buy a car, and have the car drive itself while you sit back and relax.
Despite the science fiction-like image, self-driving cars are no longer a technical impossibility. In fact, the technology required to produce a self-driving car have been well understood for the past ten years and many car companies already have working prototypes that could drive themselves.
The challenge to marketing and selling such a car is the high cost of the advanced electronics, and regulations in many countries that does not allow a car to be driven without a driver.
The Vienna Convention, which forms the basis of many traffic regulations around the world, requires a driver to be in control of the vehicle at all times.
The governments in USA, European Union, Sweden and Japan are currently renegotiating this convention so as to allow the sale of fully autonomous self-driving cars.
In the initial stages, the cars will not be completely self-driving, as there are still many potential complications that might arise (insurance claims in the event of an accident for example) if an incident happens with no driver sitting in the driver's seat.
The coming self-driving system will not relieve drivers of responsibility. It will simply provide assistance in driving situations that are particularly stressful - a heavy traffic jam in the city centre for example.
The self-driving system that is being developed by Citroen is aimed at making long distance highway driving more relaxing.
t is activated at the driver's request, where driving conditions permit, or following a prompt from the system itself.
Technically, the driver can then release both the steering wheel and pedals, traffic rules allowing. The car then remains in its lane, adapting its speed to reflect the speed limit and other exterior factors, such as bends and the presence of other cars. It takes care of all the usual motorway maneuvers: braking through to a complete standstill, overtaking and moving back into the lane, and changing lanes to follow a specific route. The system also ensures that the driver remains attentive, with an onboard camera able to measure signs of drowsiness or lack of vigilance.
A sophisticated array of radars, cameras and sensors will continuously scan the vehicles surrounding, up to 150 metres in front and 20 metres behind, looking for potential hazards, and changing road conditions.
After the decades after 2020, Citroen is optimistic that it is possible to market a fully autonomous, self-driving car by then.
In the meantime, many Citroen models sold around the world already come equipped with features that will form the basics of a self-driving car. Adaptive cruise control for example, is already capable of accelerating or braking itself to keep a safe distance with the car in front, while automatic emergency braking, lane-change assist, blind spot monitoring, self-parking assist are all baby steps that it will eventually lead us to a fully autonomous self-driving car.