Self-driving cars used to be stuff of science fiction, but images of the driverless vehicles in the DARPA Urban Challenge has made it a reality. Although this technology is not commercially available, we can all see the fruit of the hard work researchers in universities and laboratories nationwide have been working on.
Recently, Google (News - Alert) was one of the biggest private companies going after this technology, but now Audi and Toyota have jumped in the fray, who will be making exciting announcements regarding this technology at the 2013 CES (News - Alert) (Consumer Electronic Show) in Las Vegas.
Self-driving cars might sound like an act of fancy, but a car that can drive itself will provide many benefits for a society that is growing in number at a frightening speed. While we are capable of driving, we are not as efficient as machines. We inevitably make mistakes, which invariably result in slower traffic and accidents resulting in delays, and more importantly, injury and death to countless individuals on a daily basis.
Conversely, self-driving automobiles will be able to process data faster and make the right decision based on the available information. As cars increasingly begin to incorporate this kind of technology, they will make even fewer mistakes, as they will soon be able to communicate with one another. Eventually, the goal is to have these types of vehicles with smart roads to create a contained system that is aware of the presence of every vehicle on the road and its condition.
Toyota is adapting such technology in its Lexus LS 600h with its AASRV (Advanced Active Safety Research Vehicle), and Audi will be using one of its luxury vehicles. Since Google is not yet manufacturing cars, it has adapted a Toyota Prius to be its self-driving vehicle.
These vehicles have a similar technology which allows them to navigate the obstacles they face. They are generally fitted with cameras, different types of radar components and large amounts of navigation, awareness, detection and other types of software.
The influence of Google in the State of California is also partly responsible for passing legislation S. 1298, the autonomous vehicle law. Sergey Brin (News - Alert) the co-founder of Google was present when it was signed at the company’s headquarter in Mountain View, California.
While they may not be now, self-driving cars will eventually be the norm. The sheer number of vehicles on the roads will make it almost impossible to make any type of commute tolerable. This will not sit well with anyone who loves driving, but that is where we are heading sooner or later.
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Edited by Allison Boccamazzo