Cars That Drive Themselves: Not So Far Off!


| 3 Comments
As a little kid, when I was asked to think about what life would be like in the future, flying cars always came to mind. When you were a little kid, did you ever think "I can't wait to have a car that drives for me?" Not as likely, but it's definitely a possible concept! I remember watching the James Bond 007 movies as a kid and seeing all of the cool technology that James Bond got for his job, like pens that have cameras, night vision sunglasses, and of course cars that drove themselves! I always wondered when I would see things like these in real life, and now cars that drive themselves have turned into a reality!

What car company is the first to put out a autonomous car, you ask? Only the car brand known world-wide for their superior safety and caution in their car models- Volvo. An article from The Verge titled Volvo Speeds Ahead with Autonomous Cars on Swedish Roads by 2017 explains to readers how Volvo is going about creating these futuristic cars. Volvo is not the only car company that has begun to think about autonomous cars though. Nissan, as well as other brands, also have plans to build these cars as well-- Volvo's plan just puts them a couple years ahead of their competitors in terms of release dates. 

Volvo is partnering with Swedish authorities to initiate a trial run of their new autonomous car models in the Swedish city of Gothenburg, called Drive Me. With the Drive Me trial run, 100 of these cars will be distributed to specially selected drivers in order to test them out. Wondering how this will all work? The article states that "The Drive Me project will span every type of roadway, from congested city center streets to fast-moving freeways, in order to test the cars in all the common scenarios." This Drive Me project will be especially useful in order to make sure that these cars are 100% safe and reliable before Volvo offers them up to the public, so that people do not get hurt because of an error by the car. 

If you would like to learn more about how these autonomous cars will work and how Volvo plans to execute their Drive Me project in Sweden, I suggest you check out this video that Volvo put out as an overview of their Autonomous Driving Pilot Project! What do you think, would you ever be able to fully trust a machine such as these Volvos with your life? I'm not so sure yet.

Volvo-S60-Drive-Me-prototype-796x528.jpg

3 Comments

It would take a lot for me to get in a car that "drives itself". I feel like, even after they became street legal after what I presume would be many successful test periods, they could still malfunction. There would have to be many fail safes built in to the automated system to prevent a potential crash after something went wrong with the autopilot. However, even if the safety of the auto pilot was perfected, I'm not sure if how many car crashes it would prevent. After all, even if many self-driving cars are out there on the road, there will always be manual drivers that make mistakes. I don't know about you, but I'd rather have complete control over my car in that situation so I could quickly react and drive defensively.

This article is an interesting read as it deals with some of the concerns involved with automated cars:
http://slashdot.org/story/13/09/18/1950248/tesla-working-on-autonomous-cars-musk-wants-teslas-with-auto-pilot

I agree with Evan on this one, if for no reason other than I like to have some level of control over my own safety. For something like this to be completely foolproof, essentially every vehicle on the road would have to run on "autopilot". That way they could communicate with one-another as to their exact locations and travel patterns so as to not collide at some point. A mix of human and automated drivers on the road is a recipe for disaster as far as I'm concerned. Something like this, however, seems a great deal more applicable at this point in time. By maintaining simplicity, yet at the same time providing exceptional convenience and minimizing potential risks, Audi seems to have created a strong foundation upon which they can continue to expand the luxury factor of their vehicles. Check out their pilot video from January here. It's actually pretty cool.

I love the possibility for autonomous cars. Any day I am stuck in traffic I wonder how much faster this would all go if the cars were all communicating with each other and didn't have a "moron" controlling them. While I agree that the end goal has to be for every car to be autonomous we still need to find a way to mix the autonomy with human control. Personally I wouldn't care if I never had to control my car again, but I would like to know there's an option. Maybe just to have it on on those long drives to State College so I can get some homework or testing done.

I also think its a testament to our stupidity that the only two accidents that have been reported with driverless cars were Google's car. The first time a person had full control of the car and did it and the second it was rear ended by a person.

http://www.businessinsider.com/googles-self-driving-cars-get-in-their-first-accident-2011-8

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/10/science/10google.html?_r=2&

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