10 years back when we used to think about future cars, we could not have imagine driverless cars at that time. Since a century, we have safe and reliable cars. Now with much advancements in technology, all we can think about is flying and autonomous cars. Its like the jetsons age is nearly come. I wonder. Google has been continuously conducting research studies to develop its tech and make autonomous cars more reliable and safe. Just six months ago, the UK ministers announced £19million would be ploughed into driverless car research.
Autonomous cars (robotic cars) are those that can function all driving, commuting and parking function all by itself. It is a technology that senses the environment and upon entering the destination, navigates its way without human interference.
In the UK, those wanting to test driverless vehicles openly on public roads won’t have to gain any certificate or permit. A Code of Practice will be published this spring, which testers will have to adhere to, but there will be no legal hoops to jump through. All the authorities will demand is that a test driver be present in case of emergencies, a data recorder be fitted and that technology on the vehicle has passed tests on closed roads or test tracks.
How do they work?
Lots of sensory equipment feed into the vehicle’s computers. Radar, lasers and cameras collect data on the distance to objects and their speed if they’re moving. GPS helps, and an inertial navigation system in the computer uses dead reckoning to continuously calculate position, orientation, direction and speed of the vehicle and surrounding objects.Without getting too deep into the weeds: Cloud-based data could be used to continually update the onboard computer, including data collected from other cars.
Is It Safe?
On August 7, 2012, Mashable reported that Google has tested its driverless vehicles over 300,000 miles of road in various conditions without experiencing a single accident.According to reports by NHTSA, 93% of crashes are caused by driver errors than by technical errors. So, does this mean there will be zero crashes? Well, nobody dares make that claim, for now at least.
Are autonomous cars legal?
Although set to begin testing in the UK, autonomous cars are not currently legal in Europe. There are larger moral and safety issues surrounding a fully autonomous car that can accelerate and steer for you. That would require no concentration or involvement from the driver whatsoever, so the technology would have to be totally fool proof.
Potential Benefits of Driverless Cars
- Autonomous vehicles will come equipped with a payload tracking system that will of course be able to track payload
- Driverless cars will use GPS system that will help decide the best route to travel, considering the traffic conditions. This will enable faster commuting.
- With faster reaction time and better reliability as compared to human drivers, there will be fewer traffic collisions thereby improving the overall safety.
- Simultaneous monitoring of surrounding objects, vehicles, and other factors will allow for better vehicle performance. The technology can also allow users to remotely adjust speeds, thus increasing fuel efficiency.
- Reduction in maintenance Costs.
Won’t this take a massive rewrite of traffic laws?
You bet it will. Driving is the most complicated and regulated thing most people do. The industry has begged regulators not to pass a lot of new laws until the technology is all worked out, for fear that premature reaction could yield restraints or restrictions that prove unnecessary when all is said and done.
Whatever choice a car makes will be a matter of constant debate. Should car manufacturers be allowed to sell models that give higher priority to passengers – they would surely be more popular among buyers? If not, who should decide a driverless car’s ethical programming?
Even if the technology behind driverless cars is practically perfect, its road to the mainstream is likely to be far from smooth let it be with respect to legal or moral perspective related to it.