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ML in Autonomous Vehicles: Advancements in Self-Driving Technology

Last updated on: 
December 27, 2023
Abhinav Rawat
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About The Author!
Abhinav Rawat
Abhinav Rawat
Product Manager at Interview Kickstart. The skilled and experienced mastermind behind several successful product designs for upscaling the ed-tech platforms with an outcome-driven approach for skilled individuals.

As kids, we used to discuss what kind of technology would be in like 10-15 years. One of the most common topics of discussion was what kinds of cars we would have in the future: flying cars, self-driving cars, cars with certain extraordinary designs and features, etc. As we grew up, so did technology, and are discussions turned true! We have had self-driving cars on our roads for a few years now. The leading statistics project that there will be around 54.2 million autonomous car units globally by 2024. The key technology that made this innovation possible is the integration of machine learning in autonomous vehicles. 

Here is what we will cover in this article:

  • What are Autonomous Vehicles?
  • Levels of Autonomous Vehicles
  • How is AI used in Autonomous Vehicles with Machine Learning?
  • Machine Learning Algorithms Used in Autonomous Vehicles
  • SIFT
  • Regression algorithm
  • AdaBoost
  • Textoon Boost
  • Histogram of oriented gradients 
  • YOLO
  • Gear up to Work for Machine Learning in Autonomous Vehicles
  • FAQs on Machine Learning in Autonomous Vehicles

What are Autonomous Vehicles?

An autonomous vehicle, also known as a self-driving vehicle, is an automobile that can operate by itself and carry out essential functions without the support of a driver, thanks to its ability to comprehend its environment. Advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms are used by autonomous vehicles to learn about their surroundings and respond to inputs. 

ACC, or adaptive cruise control, is one of the automotive technologies utilized in automated vehicles. This technology can regulate the car's driving speed to ensure it keeps a sufficient distance from the vehicles in the area surrounding it.

Levels of Autonomous Vehicles 

According to the degree of automation, there are various kinds of autonomous vehicles. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) came up with six levels, and these were implemented by the US Department of Transportation, that go from Level 0 (completely manual) to Level 5 (totally autonomous).

6 levels of automation for machine learning in autonomous vehicles

The levels of autonomous vehicles are given as follows: 

Level 0

At this level, the car has no autonomous driving functions. However, this does not rule out driver assistance systems. Even though driving control is fully in the driver's hands, the automobile is provided with a system that offers brief driving support, such as warning indicators or emergency security features. 

Level 1

The vehicle can carry out a single autonomous function at a given moment. These safety-related actions can help with fundamental motion functions like steering or brakes. It has adaptive cruise control (ACC), which allows the car to regulate its speed based on how close it is to the car ahead. The driver can turn these off or override instructions at any moment.

Level 2

This level refers to ADAS or advanced driver assistance systems. The vehicle can regulate both steering and acceleration/deceleration. The driver remains totally invested and alert, given the option of passing on the control of integrated longitudinal and lateral tasks.

Level 3

It offers considerable technological improvement ahead of level 2. Autonomous vehicles at level 3 operate primarily autonomously and only sometimes need human supervision to overcome breakdowns or harsh conditions.

Level 4

There is no requirement for human involvement when driving at level 4 automation. The advanced technology drives itself while passengers hop aboard for the journey, possibly avoiding the necessity for a steering wheel and pedals. These automobiles are geofenced to specific locations and cannot travel otherwise. Extreme weather conditions could also affect these vehicles, potentially interfering with their functioning.

Level 5

These automobiles are self-driving under any circumstances. They have no limitations by geofences and are free to move about. Without human drivers, the car can travel anywhere amid busy traffic and in any weather. At this point, there is no need for a human driver. The driver will become a passenger.

How is AI used in Autonomous Vehicles with Machine Learning?

Machine learning is a branch of artificial intelligence. It centers around enhancing a machine's performance of a certain function. Machine learning in autonomous vehicles can be either supervised or unsupervised. In autonomous vehicles, various machine learning elements are taken into consideration. ML has been successfully implemented in many advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) technology components. In an autonomous vehicle, machine learning functions are usually broken down into different functions: detecting objects, recognizing objects or identification, object categorization, object localization, and motion prediction.

 Benefits of AI and machine learning in self-driving cars

Here are certain benefits of machine learning for autonomous vehicles. 

  1. Autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning (LDW), and adaptive cruise control (ACC) constitute three highly successful security systems that signal drivers of possible risks, take steps to avoid them and avoid fatal outcomes from happening.
  2. The application of AI in the automobile sector substantially reduces costs in all areas of processes, from design to production. AI could help lower costs in many ways, including optimizing production processes, enhancing supply networks, and detecting possible car difficulties.
  3. Driver assistance systems in autonomous vehicles use sensors and mapping data to recognize roadside factors, guide the vehicle as needed, and automate processes, enhance or modify one or more of the driving-related tasks. 
  4. Machine learning is also used for greater levels of driver support, such as sensing and comprehending the surroundings around a vehicle. However, there have also been advancements in LiDAR and radar technology. This primarily entails using camera-based platforms for object identification and classification.

Machine Learning Algorithms Used in Autonomous Vehicles 

Machine learning algorithms and deep learning in autonomous automobiles enable them to reach conclusions in real-time. This improves the security and confidence in autonomous vehicles. Machine learning algorithms are often generally divided into different types. 

ypes of machine learning algorithms used in autonomous vehicles SIFT


The scale-invariant feature transform (SIFT) enables image identification and object recognition for partly visible objects. The algorithm retrieves an item's prominent points (i.e., key points) using an image repository. These are characteristics of the item that are unaffected by motion, disarray, sizing, or disturbance. Machine learning algorithms in autonomous vehicles compare each new image to the SIFT features that have already been obtained from the database. For item identification, it looks for a correlation between them.

Regression Algorithm

Regression algorithms are specifically used to forecast situations. Bayesian, decision forest and neural network regression are the three primary regression algorithms used for autonomous vehicles. Regression analysis is the process of estimating the relationship among two or more variables and comparing the impacts of each variable across multiple scales. Regression algorithms provide a statistical model of the relationship between a certain image and the location of a particular item inside it by using the repeating elements of the surroundings.`


AdaBoost is a significant decision matrix algorithm that facilitates adaptive boosting of the learning process. It integrates and improves the efficiency of various algorithms such that they cooperate and strengthen one another. The combined performance of algorithms can improve performance if one method performs ineffectively.

Textoon Boost

TextonBoost integrates weak learners to generate powerful learners. It improves image identification according to texton labeling. Textons are collections of visual data with similar properties and filter behavior. It incorporates numerous classifiers to deliver the most effective object recognition. TextonBoost enhances the accuracy with which self-driving cars perceive objects. 

Histogram of Oriented Gradients (HOG)

One of the most fundamental machine learning methods for visual analysis and autonomous driving is the histogram of oriented gradients (HOG). It studies a cell, a section of an image, to determine how and where the image's intensity varies. Every cell's computed gradients are connected by HOG, which counts the number of times every direction occurs. In HOG, distributions of the image's intensity represent how images are described. It produces a coded and compressed image representation that contains an interesting gradient rather than just a collection of pixels. Furthermore, it consumes few system resources. 


YOLO (You Only Look Once) is a machine-learning technique for identifying items like vehicles, people, and trees. It is an alternate algorithm of HOG. YOLO evaluates the entire image and separates it into sections. The process generates enclosing boxes and estimations for every image segment. It evaluates the network only once and analyzes every prediction in its setting of the entire image. The YOLO method is a wonderful resource for autonomous vehicles' object detection. It ensures rapid processing and vehicle reaction under real-world conditions. 

Gear Up to Work for Machine Learning in Autonomous Vehicles

Machine learning autonomous vehicles is a highly successful technology. The pair of machine learning and automobiles are a match made in heaven, shaping the transportation sector's future. They enable a vehicle to get data from cameras and additional sensors about its surroundings, understand it, and choose what tasks to perform. Machine learning enables automobiles to understand how to complete these tasks as efficiently as humans.

Various companies, such as Tesla, Ford, Uber, Zoox, etc., are using machine learning in autonomous vehicles, progressively creating more opportunities for machine learning enthusiasts to work for them. Looking at the immense opportunities, Interview Kickstart has created the perfect machine learning course that could help you land your desired job positions.

FAQs on Machine Learning in Autonomous Vehicles 

  1. What programming language is used for autonomous vehicles?

C and C++ are the two kinds of computer languages that are often utilized to implement control logic. An advanced language, such as ladder logic, may sometimes be applied. When creating autonomous driving software, languages like Python and ROS are often used.

  1. How is big data used in autonomous vehicles?

Big data is quite useful for autonomous vehicles as self-driving cars depend largely on data for navigating roadways while preventing accidents. Automotive manufacturers can enhance the safety and performance of autonomous vehicles by looking into traffic patterns, weather patterns, and other variables.

  1. What is CNN used in autonomous vehicles?

A convolutional neural network (CNN) method is applied for developing a level 2 autonomous vehicle by converting pixels from camera inputs to steering commands.

Posted on 
October 6, 2023

Abhinav Rawat

Product Manager @ Interview Kickstart | Ex-upGrad | BITS Pilani. Working with hiring managers from top companies like Meta, Apple, Google, Amazon etc to build structured interview process BootCamps across domains

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