the lesson
Self-Driving Cars
The lesson consists of some theory, discussion, video demonstration, practical assignment smartphones, and homework.
    45-90 minutes
    Difficulty Level
    10+ years
    Adapted for Age
    The Lesson Presentation

    • Students who have listened to this course will have a basic understanding of how self-driving cars work and what technologies are used to operate them
    • Students will get acquainted with the words used with the automotive industry and computer science
    • Students will consider modern examples of technology use, discuss in the classroom the differences between human and robot driving and learn about the professions that allow people to study more deeply the technologies of artificial intelligence and automotive of the future.
    Note: The lesson is built on the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) principle; so we encourage students to use their own smartphones while doing practical tasks.
    This Lesson Contains:

    • Studying materials / Lesson outline
    • Questions for the discussion
    • Videos
    • Slides / projection images
    • Tasks for individual work
    • The task for working in groups
    • Tasks for working with personal smartphones/tablets
    • Printed materials
    • Homework

    For This Lesson You'll Need:

    • Projector for showing video and slides;
    • Chalkboard, chalk or markers;
    • Smartphones on Android or iOS platform with Futurio App;
    • Futurio App: AppStore, Google Play
    • Presentation: Open
    • Videos
    • Printed А4-marker for work in class and homework: Download

    How To Use This Lesson

    This lesson is designed for an academic hour, but a teacher can extend it to 90 minutes. An important element of the lesson is the students' ability to express their thoughts freely, to learn to think critically, to analyze facts and to engage in discussion.

    During the lesson, students are allowed to use their own smartphones, but it is important that they download the relevant applications in advance. The teacher needs to prepare "printed" markers - special images for practical work.

    The lesson is built in a way that allows students to answer the questions: "What do I know about self-driving cars?", "What technologies are used in driverless cars?" and "Can a car drive itself in the same way as a human driver?"

    On this page, you will find a lesson plan that includes teaching materials, a list of slides and videos, as well as recommendations on class activities in certain points of the lesson. You will also find important information in the prompts for the speaker within the presentation.

    The lesson does not contain branded content, however, it is built on real examples of modern companies and their names are indicated in the tips for the teacher. Whether or not to voice them during the lesson remains at the discretion of the teacher, according to the internal policy of the educational institution.

    You can conduct the lesson "as it is" or give more attention and time to certain parts.

    After the lesson, please share with us your impressions. Was the lesson interesting to you? Was it easy to understand the topic? Were there enough materials and videos? What additional questions did the student ask? How can we improve on the lesson?

    You will find a feedback form at the end of the lesson. Let's talk!

    Good luck!

    The Lesson Structure
    Topic Introduction
    Part 1, 5 minutes
    • Teacher starts the lesson with an interesting, lively discussion of the topic, raises questions for students, motivates them to think critically, creatively, freely, and moderates the discussion.
    • Lesson elements: discussion.
    Actualization of Knowledge
    Part 2, 10 minutes
    • Teacher clearly formulates the goal of the lesson, explains the role of self-driving cars in human life, and outlines the benefits of being knowledgeable about the topic.
    • Elements of the lesson: video showing, discussion.
    Awareness / Acquisition of knowledge
    Part 3, 10 minutes
    • Teacher explains theoretical material and terminology with real-life examples, then demonstrates the similarities and differences in driving a car between an autopilot and a human.
    • Elements of the lesson: theoretical part, creative thinking, discussion, notes, video demonstration.
    Part 4, 10 minutes
    • Teacher initiates the discussion to find out whether students have understood the material and whether they've changed the views they expressed at the beginning of the lesson.
    • Lesson elements: video demonstration, discussion, creative thinking, critical thinking, notes.
    Practical assignment, BYOD
    Part 5, 5 minutes
    • Practical work in groups or individually with the Futurio AR-application (BYOD).
    • Lesson elements: BYOD, individual work, group work, practical work, critical thinking, analytical thinking.
    Part 6, 2 minutes
    • Teacher encourages students to continue studying on their own with a help of an interactive homework.
    • Lesson elements: homework, individual work, analytical thinking, critical thinking
    part 1 (5 minutes)
    Topic Introduction
    Day after day, our lives become easier thanks to various home helpers. We have "taught" them to do different tasks while we are doing something more interesting.

    Who will say what kind of helpers I mean?


    . We use a washing machine instead of washing with hands
    . We use a toaster instead of frying or warming bread
    . We use multi cooker and steamer for cooking.
    Slide 1. Discussion
    Life is easier with them, is it not?

    One can put dirty clothes in a washer, choose a program of washing, press "Start" and have 2 hours of free time.

    You may also have examples of similar devices / things / machines. Feel free to suggest something new.

    Maybe, you will become the one to change the world.
    Discussion. Creative thinking
    part 2 (10 minutes)
    The actualization of Knowledge
    Today, we will talk about a thing that helps us to cover long distances and takes us on time to our destination, but requires a lot of attention and concentration from our part.

    Have you got the point yet? One more word - and everything will be clear. Most of your parents have already used it today so that you are not late for the first lesson.

    Hint: A car
    So, let's talk about cars. About such cars that allow us to use our time on the road more interestingly.

    To that end, cars must be self-driving. They already exist. So today's lesson is about self-driving cars.

    The day when you can get into a car and read a newspaper or watch your favorite TV series while the car is taking you where you need to go, is already here.

    At least, according to what automakers claim. New driverless cars regularly appear on international car shows.

    Watch the video.
    Slide 2
    part 3 (10 minutes)
    Awareness / Acquisition of Knowledge
    What is the difference between an ordinary car and self-driving one?

    First, a driverless car is a more computerized version of a normal car. The brain of such a car is a computer program that decides which step to take next, just like a human does.

    Let's look at what human abilities were replaced by computer devices in order for the car to know how to move and where to go. What are the skills and abilities that allow people to drive and not to bump into anything?

    Tips: Vision, side vision, pedaling, reacting to circumstances, knowledge of traffic rules.
    Creative thinking. Discussion. Systematization of knowledge.
    1. Knowledge of traffic rules.


    Before driving, one must know the rules of the road. For this purpose, people go to special driving schools where they study road signs and markings.

    All the important data is downloaded into the vehicle's computer during manufacturing.
    Additional information: The photo shows a lithium-ion battery manufactured by Tesla.
    Slide 4
    2. Knowledge of the area

    A person who has grown up in a certain city knows what street to take and where to turn in order to reach a school, a cinema or a shop.

    He or she knows where in the city gas stations or parking spaces are.
    In unfamiliar places, a human can use GPS-navigation.

    Traffic rules and road maps of the world or a certain area are downloaded into the memory of the car computer.

    Before starting a trip, a person must program the robot vehicle onto a certain route so they enter the destination name (for example, the name of our school) or the exact address.
    Slide 5
    3. Ability to see and recognize road markings

    A driver must be very careful to look at the road ahead while driving. And not only that.

    He has to notice road signs that indicate, for example, who has the right to go first at an intersection or if you are allowed to overtake a car in front.

    In self-driving car, this work is done by front camera.

    The camera "reads" everything it sees around. The software, inbuilt in the car's "brain," processes the image and recognizes road markings and signs, stop lamps and other objects.

    The car may also have a lidar.
    Lidar sounds similar to radar, doesn't it?
    Slide 6
    The word "radar" must be well known to you. Both of these words were acronyms. Before becoming a separate word, radar stood for Radio Detection and Ranging - RADAR.

    As you know, a radar uses reflected radio waves to determine the distance to various objects. For example, submarines or planes.

    Lidar stands for Light Identification, Detection and Ranging - LIDAR.

    This way of identifying the distance to objects uses a beam of light, for example, a laser. Special sensors recognize the reflected light, just as in the case of radio waves.

    Lidar is fixed on a car. It turns around its axis and, with the help of a laser beam, generates a 360-degree image of the surroundings.
    Slide 7
    4. Monitoring behavior of other road users

    A driver must constantly look not only to the front, but also keep an eye on other cars and objects on the road, mustn't he?

    In case a cat runs across the road or a ball has rolled onto the road because someone is playing nearby.

    Other cars, cyclists and motorcyclists on the road are also objects of constant attention for the driver.

    In a robot car, this work is done by frontal radar and ultrasound sensors.

    Frontal radar uses reflected microwaves to determine the location of objects and their speed.

    Ultrasonic sensors use reflected ultrasonic sound waves.

    They are used to measure the distance to nearby objects.

    In this way, the car's sensors collect data about nearby objects. For example, their size and speed.

    Sensors also classify objects - cyclists, pedestrians or other cars and objects - basing on their behavior.

    Sometimes self-driving cars are able to do even more than a human is able to. Some of these features are already present in modern cars that you see on the road every day.

    For example:

    Collision prevention
    Basing on data from radars, lasers or cameras, Systems may warn about a possible collision and, in some cases, even brake automatically.

    If a car starts to veer from its lane, some systems warn the driver and act against the steering wheel.

    "Blind spot" visibility.
    Cameras or radar can recognize other cars in the blind spot area and warn the driver with sound or light signals.

    Restraint or help not to overspeed.
    The feature is called "cruise control," and you've probably heard about it because many modern cars have it.

    It is when a car keeps a preset speed and, in the latest models, the distance to the car ahead. If the car ahead is slowing down, your car reduces speed as well.

    It is a headache of many beginners!

    Imagine the car maneuvers itself to the given parking space. But usually, the driver has to brake himself and follow the prompts.
    Slide 8
    Let's look at the picture and find the difference between self-driving car and a usual one.
    There is almost no difference, isn't there?
    Slide 9
    Here's how a computer's camera "sees" various objects on the road:
    Slide 10
    It sees many objects at once, doesn't it?

    It has to consider many different factors at the same time that, moreover, are constantly changing.

    According to research, a human needs up to 26 seconds to completely "engage" in car control if he was distracted by other things before. In a critical situation, it may be too long. The robot car, on the contrary, is never distracted.
    PART 4 (10 MINUTES)
    So, today we have talked about autonomous cars - a promising thing of the future.

    It may happen that we will forget about driving behind the wheel soon, and special city car rides will be created in order to feel the mechanics of a car again. For money, of course.

    But now, like everything new, self-driving cars are under the close supervision of critics. Let's try and become critics ourselves and argue against "autopilots."

    What do you think are the disadvantages of using this technology?

    profession of a driver may disappear
    . autopilot can do mistakes as well
    . not all roads are equipped with markings, signs and lights
    . car racing as a sport may disappear
    . the car's computer system may be hacked; attackers may change the direction or security settings
    .a person in a self-driving car, too, must be prepared if a tire suddenly goes flat or other drivers in "non-self-driving" cars make mistakes that computer is not able to react to;
    . a human can drive a car even when the marking is rubbed off and road signs are not clearly seen because of tree branches or other objects;
    . a human can recognize emotional or aggressive behavior of another driver and keep him at a distance.

    Unmanned systems are not yet perfect; however, car manufacturers insist that people make mistakes much more often than robots.

    In addition, people are inclined to act emotionally and because of this - be distracted, break the speed limit or behave aggressively on the road.

    For example, cut others off, brake sharply, or not keep enough distance from the car in front.

    This is very dangerous behavior that has to be avoided.

    This can never happen to robot, or self-driving, cars.

    In addition, scientists have estimated that the use of autopilot cars will increase the throughput of highways by 273 percent, while the average speed will increase significantly.

    Since the heart of a driverless car is a computer, there is also a threat of hacker attacks. Theoretically, hackers can break the computer system of the car and seize control. Engineers are doing their best to make a robot car's management system impossible to break.

    This is a very important issue, especially in view of the fact that hackers' activities are growing.
    Discussion. Critical Thinking.
    Apart from critics, in the world there are many "advocates" of self-driving cars.
    Let's assume this role and talk about the benefits of the new technology.

    . Time in jam or on the road can be spent with more benefit: for study or rest;
    . Autonomous cars know and always remember all traffic rules;
    . Driverless cars don't act emotionally or get tired.
    Discussion. Creative Thinking.
    PART 5 (5 MINUTES)
    Practical work with Futurio App, BYOD
    Futurio app
    With the help of the application, the lessons about new technologies will become more interesting and interactive.
    And now, let's use our smartphones to check how self-driving cars can perform some complicated tasks, for example, parking.

    To that end, we need to complete a super assignment.
    You have special drawings.

    1. Get your smartphones or tablets.
    2. Open the Futurio app.
    3. Put a picture in front of you.
    4. Point the smartphone camera so that the entire picture can fit on the screen.
    5. What do you see?

    Take a look at the picture from all sides. Bring the camera closer to the picture or move it further away.
    Slides 11. Practical work with AR-markers and Futurio application.
    Discussion. Students work in groups or independently, get acquainted with an example of the work of self-directed cars, analyze what has been seen and summarize the study.
    Printed А4-marker for work in class and homework
    Questions for class work (independent or in groups) or homework (recommended):

    1. What task is the self-driving car doing now?
    ______________________ (Parking)

    2. Write down the systems that help autopilot drive a car:
    __________ (Onboard computer)
    __________ (Lidar)
    __________ (Front camera / cameras)
    __________ (Sensors)
    __________ (GPS navigation)

    3. Give one reason for using autopilots on city roads and one against it:
    + ______________________________________
    - ______________________________________
    PART 6
    Take the pictures home. On the sheets with pictures, you will find test questions.
    Work at home with the app, take a closer look at what you see on the screen. Answer the test questions.

    Good luck!
    Slides 30-31
    The Lesson Presentation

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