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Navigating the Future: Driverless Cars Explained - IELTS Reading Passage with Questions & Answers

Updated on 06 December, 2023

Akansha Semwal

Akansha Semwal

Sr. Content Writer & Study Abroad Expert


The concept of driverless cars, once a fixture of science fiction, has rapidly evolved into a tangible reality. As autonomous vehicles begin to cruise our streets, they promise to revolutionize the way we commute. For IELTS learners, understanding this cutting-edge technology is not only crucial for staying informed but also serves as excellent practice material for the reading section of the exam.


The advent of driverless cars, or autonomous vehicles (AVs), marks a significant milestone in automotive technology. These sophisticated machines, equipped with an array of sensors, cameras, and advanced algorithms, are designed to navigate roads with little or no human intervention. The development of AVs could redefine transportation, offering increased efficiency, safety, and convenience.

Leading the charge in the AV revolution are companies like Waymo, Tesla, and several traditional automotive manufacturers, each investing heavily in the technology necessary to make self-driving cars a common sight. The premise of AV technology is not just about removing the driver but creating a connected network where vehicles communicate with each other and with the traffic infrastructure to optimize traffic flow and reduce congestion.

One of the core components of driverless technology is the use of Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) systems, which create high-resolution maps of the car's surroundings. This mapping is crucial as it allows the vehicle to understand its position relative to other objects and navigate safely. Another key element is the use of machine learning algorithms that enable the car to make decisions in real-time, such as when to brake or maneuver around an obstacle.

Despite the optimism surrounding AVs, there are challenges and concerns. The technology's safety is at the forefront, with questions about how these vehicles will respond in unpredictable situations. Additionally, the integration of AVs into existing traffic systems poses logistical and legal challenges that are yet to be fully resolved.

As we stand on the brink of this automotive revolution, it is clear that driverless cars are not just a new type of vehicle but a catalyst for change in the very fabric of urban life. They have the potential to transform our cities, our laws, and our environmental footprint, signaling a shift towards a more technologically integrated future.

Questions & Multiple Choice Options:

Q1: What is Lidar used for in autonomous vehicles?

A. Communication between vehicles

B. Detecting and ranging light

C. Creating high-resolution maps of the car's surroundings

D. Learning traffic patterns

Q2: Which of these companies is not mentioned as a leader in AV technology?

A. Waymo

B. Tesla

C. Google

D. Traditional automotive manufacturers

Q3: True or False: Machine learning algorithms allow a driverless car to adapt its functions over time.

Q4: Fill in the blank: Driverless cars are equipped with an array of _______, cameras, and advanced algorithms.

Q5: What is the main promise of autonomous vehicle technology?

A. To make human driving skills obsolete

B. To provide increased efficiency, safety, and convenience

C. To reduce the cost of vehicles

D. To improve car design

Q6: True or False: Autonomous vehicles can operate without any human intervention.

Q7: Fill in the blank: The integration of AVs poses _______ and legal challenges.

Q8: True or False: Autonomous vehicles primarily communicate through visual signals.

Q9: What does AV stand for?

A. Audio-Visual

B. Autonomous Vehicles

C. Advanced Vehicles

D. Automated Ventures

Q10: True or False: The current traffic systems are fully equipped to integrate driverless cars.

Answers & Explanations:

A1: C. Creating high-resolution maps of the car's surroundings

Explanation: Lidar systems are fundamental in autonomous vehicles for generating detailed maps that help the car understand its environment and navigate safely.

A2: C. Google

Explanation: While Google has invested in autonomous driving technology, it is not mentioned in the passage. Waymo, which began as a project within Google, is now a separate entity and is listed.

A3: True

Explanation: Machine learning algorithms are designed to enable AVs to make real-time decisions and improve their driving patterns based on accumulated data.

A4: Sensors

Explanation: The passage specifies that autonomous vehicles are equipped with sensors, which, along with cameras and algorithms, are critical for navigation.

A5: B. To provide increased efficiency, safety, and convenience

Explanation: The primary aim of AV technology, as mentioned in the passage, is to enhance the overall transportation experience by making it more efficient, safe, and convenient.

A6: True

Explanation: The passage indicates that AVs can navigate roads with little to no human intervention, showcasing the level of autonomy these vehicles possess.

A7: Logistical

Explanation: Alongside legal challenges, logistical challenges are also a significant concern in integrating AVs into the current traffic systems, as stated in the passage.

A8: False

Explanation: AVs primarily rely on sensors, cameras, and Lidar systems for navigation, not visual signals.

A9: B. Autonomous Vehicles

Explanation: AV stands for Autonomous Vehicles, as outlined in the introduction of the passage.

A10: False

Explanation: The passage suggests that integrating AVs into existing traffic systems is a challenge yet to be fully resolved, indicating that current systems are not fully prepared for this integration.

IELTS Reading Test Tips:

Tip 1: Familiarize yourself with technical vocabulary related to the topic, such as 'autonomous vehicles', 'Lidar', and 'machine learning algorithms'.

Tip 2: Practice skimming and scanning techniques to quickly locate information about innovations and challenges associated with driverless cars in the text.

Tip 3: Pay attention to detail, especially when questions involve true/false or fill-in-the-blank formats, as they require precise knowledge from the passage.

Tip 4: Develop the skill of identifying the writer’s perspective on new technologies to better understand and answer questions about the implications of these advancements.

Tip 5: Stay updated on current affairs and technological trends, as IELTS reading passages often reflect contemporary issues and innovations.

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Akansha Semwal

Sr. Content Writer & Study Abroad Expert

Akansha Semwal is a content marketer at upGrad and has also worked as a social media marketer & sub-editor. Experienced in creating impressive Statement of Purpose, Essays, and LOR, she knows how to captivate the attention of Admissions Committee. Her research-driven;study-abroad articles helps aspirants to make the prudent decision. She holds a bachelor's & master's degree in Literature from the University of Delhi.

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