Archives For driverless cars

Handout photo from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.

Handout photo from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.

Some sobering news about autonomous or self-driving cars.

After the recap of the state of the technology from Audi, Lexus and Google, the writer asks what the real hurdle to adoption of this will be.

It’s not the technology, as these manufacturers are showing that we’re already almost there.

Rather the problem will be the new rules associated with a world full of computer-driven vehicles.

How to legislate for what happens when technology goes awry is bound to push the ETA for these super-automobiles. And then of course there’s the cost.

Which is to say — be prepared to handle gridlock with your own hands and feet for well into the next decade.

Read more about the robot-driven car movement from DigitalTrends.com here.

Handout photo from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.

Handout photo from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.

Manufacturers are really keen on making self-driving cars a reality!

When we’re driving, we want to DRIVE. But certainly it would be nice to let the computer take over during bumper-to-bumper rush-hour traffic.

We won’t get there for a while, but Toyota and Audi showed off the state of the technology at CES last week with some demos.

Nevada has already legalized autonomous vehicles for public roads, issuing Google the first license of its kind last year.

More companies undoubtedly will follow suit.

These computer-controlled vehicles use visual indicators, artificial intelligence software (which is what they’ll use to take over the world!), GPS and various sensors to navigate their way.

Check out more on the robot-driven cars from CNET here.

2012-07-24 16.00.48-1Robot cars will probably take control over your car whether you want it to or not.

Actually, robots will take over the world whether or not we want it. And I’m not saying that because I’ve watched Terminator too many times.

Computer scientists pretty much take this as a given. And it starts with technology like this.

We’re talking about automated intersection controllers. Sure, sounds like a great idea for improved road safety and traffic efficiency, but isn’t this why man created trains?

Maybe that’s the future of cars, each one like a train compartment.

See how the robo-cars will work here.

Related post: More evidence that robots are poised to take control!

A high school student from Texas won a $100,000 science scholarship for developing a computer algorithm that helps robots avoid obstacles.

One of the applications for this? Driverless cars, of course!

Handout photo from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.

People seem to have very mixed feelings on all of this talk about driverless cars — some are very reluctant to give up the wheel and others are genuinely excited to hand the reigns over to a robot.

However, there’s one major obstacle that will keep these robot-driven cars from achieving their true potential.

The horrendous current state of U.S. roads!

A recent piece in The Wall Street Journal discusses how badly U.S. highways need to be revamped to accommodate driverless or “autonomous” cars:

The driverless car represents one of the most amazing breakthroughs in safety and quality of life in recent history. Instead of focusing on enormously expensive high-speed rail as our transportation future, the government would do well to stop hindering driverless cars by its obsolete thinking about our nation’s roads.

It seems like a no-brainer, you can imagine that with an innovation such as this, the auto manufacturers would be ready WAY before state highway departments.

The article, written by Brookings Institution scholar Clifford Winston, says that car manufacturers “have made one technological improvement after another since the car was introduced to consumers more than a century ago” — but the roads, streets and highways are another story completely.

“Unfortunately, the paved systems on which cars travel have not advanced much in comparison,” Winston writes. “Without reimagining the way we design and maintain highways, the driverless car will achieve little of its potential.”

Uh oh!

Researchers project that getting the robot-driven cars out on the roads will dramatically decrease car accidents caused by human error. The vehicles sweep up info on nearby cars from short-range transmitters at a rate of 10 times per second — which helps them react much more rapidly than human drivers.

If upgrades were tackled competently and with urgency (a big if), the new tech could revolutionize U.S. roads and highways. Winston says:

Driverless cars don’t need the same wide lanes, which would allow highway authorities to reconfigure roads to allow travel speeds to be raised during peak travel periods. All that is needed would be illuminated lane dividers that can increase the number of lanes available. Driverless cars could take advantage of the extra lane capacity to reduce congestion and delays. …

The smaller volume of trucks could be handled with one or two wide lanes with a road surface about a foot thick, to withstand trucks’ weight and axle pressure. But the much larger volume of cars — which apply much less axle pressure that damages pavement — need more and narrower lanes that are only a few inches thick. Building highways that separate cars and trucks by directing them to lanes with the appropriate thickness would save taxpayers a bundle.

Well, let’s face it, saving taxpayers “a bundle” has never been one of the U.S. government’s defining attributes …

See Also: Opinion: Paving The Way for Driverless Cars

See Also: Forget Driverless Cars … Flying With a Robot Pilot?

See Also: Seriously … When Police Pull Over a Driverless Car, Who Gets the Ticket?

See Also: 2017? 2020??? Lots of Dates … When Will We Have Driverless Cars?

Handout photo from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.

All right, apparently these robotic, self-driven cars are already a guarantee — so when’s it gonna be already?

On the roads next to you in half a decade?

According to the automaker Ford, driverless cars will be sharing the U.S. roadways with human drivers by 2017, reports ExtremeTech.

Think that U.S. culture can adjust to the robot-driven way of life that quickly?

Japan by 2020?

Not to be outdone, the Land of the Rising Sun is also promising driverless cars by 2020, according to Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, transport and Tourism (MLIT).

Now hold on, this is also no joke.

This statement by the Japanese government represents the FIRST time that any government in the world has expressed a commitment to pursue the future of driverless cars.

The industry’s heavy hitters that are joining in are also nothing to scoff at.

We’re talking Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Fuiji, and Mazda. Yeah, those are the big boys.

The Japanese government promises a report on the status of their program some time around March 2013.

Sunshine State Closer Than Ever?

[Quick hit here: We have to give a shout out to this comment thread from Digg that suggests driverless cars could bankrupt California.]

With a unanimous vote, California’s Assembly Transportation Committee passed legislation that would allow testing and the regulation of driverless vehicles.

The vote is still just preliminary, advancing the legislation along.

According to an article from ComputerWorld, it passed on the condition that debate would continue on the language to limit the liability of automakers.

Still mired in squabbling, but it’s coming — are we ready for this?