When people think about the future of transportation, they usually only consider advances in fuel economy or alternative fuels, but what about cars that can drive themselves?
Autonomous cars is not a relatively new idea as the concept of a driverless car had originally came from the 1920s when Houdina Radio Control Co proved that they could remotely control a vehicle through the streets of New York. Although the car had to be manually controlled, it proved that cars may be able to drive themselves one day when the technology is there.
Nowadays most modern cars contain the usual GPS, parking sensors, cruise control and some could even parallel park for you, but car manufacturers and Google are taking that one step further and creating cars that can drive themselves without any assistance. The Google car was originally created from a Toyota Prius that had undergone numerous modifications to make it driverless. Currently it is not very cost effective as all changes total up to $150,000 including a $70,000 laser radar system also known as Lidar. This system provides the vehicle with nearly all the data it needs, it creates a three dimensional map of the vehicle’s surroundings. Also, maps of the world are combined with the laser system to create an even better depiction of the car’s environment.
So far the autonomous vehicles have driven over half a million kilometers nearly accident free. There has been only two documented accidents with the driverless car and they are both at human fault. The first accident was caused when it was driven by a person and the second was when it got rear ended. Other than that these cars could be the future of human transport, the only problem is when production models are made and if an accident happens who would be liable; would it be the car passenger or the car manufacturer?
In the above video you can see Nissan’s driverless car in action. This is an example of the potential benefits of a driverless car because they can park themselves rather than the owner having to waste time to find a parking lot.
With all new technology there are always pros and cons in the case of autonomous vehicles. By the year 2020 major car manufacturers such as Mercedes Benz, Nissan, and BMW plan to sell their own version of the self-driving car.
Posted by: Justin Sidhu