As much as we live to drive our cars we also like to be chauffeured around from time to time. Driving long distances can put a strain on a driver and if you’ve got an important business meeting to attend then you might
want to relax in the passenger seat, read over your presentation notes or sip on a nice cup of morning coffee. The whole premise of autonomous vehicles driving us from A-B seems far too futuristic, even to industry officials who can’t envision a fully autonomous vehicle hitting our roads until post 2025. So in order visualise the idea of a driver-less car we must take notice of the type of driver aids which exist today. In the late 50’s GM talked of dream cars, using sophisticated GPS technology, sensors and microchips which car manufacturers are today rolling out in their everyday cars as the technology becomes more and more accessible.
The issue that develops alongside the technology is how far can you trust you’re vehicle to carry you at high speeds? What if, like a computer the very software that you’re relying upon malfunctions and you’re trapped inside a speeding death-trap! It’s a well known fact that 9/10 crashes on the roads aren’t due to mechanical malfunctions, but due to the soft organism behind the wheel. Yes that’s right, we are the main cause of accidents, talking on our phones, stuffing ourselves with sweets and playing with the stereo all contribute to that momentary lapse in concentration that causes an accident. As humans we like to feel in control, but as we take our hands off the wheel can we trust a computer to decide when to slow down?
The whole idea presents an interesting discussion point. Google has put much time and money into the development of its modified Toyota Prius and Lexus RX450h self-driving models, which have clocked over 300,000 miles. More interestingly the company believes that the automated motor vehicle will be the only way to travel in the future, this backed up by the fact that it’s unmanned vehicle collection have only been involved in one accident which occurred whilst a human was behind the wheel, reinforcing the sentiment that robots may be the far more able drivers.
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