If you have ever thought of or have actually said the following, “Move out of the way or Get out of the fast lane” to a fellow driver on the road or the expressway; you are not alone. The statistics of road rage are outrageous and it only seems to be getting worse with every passing year.
With the amount of road rage that currently exists one can only hope for the latest technology of the autonomous car waiting for it to rev its engine; but without a driver? You bet! According to Dr. Hars and the latest article about the “driverless car market … and how they are gearing up to save lives, reduce costs, and give resource consumption” are all in the works (Hars, 2015). Road rage can flare up in just seconds. A few of the causes are from traffic back-ups due to construction or having too many cars on the road. It can also be caused by drivers driving too slowly. It was once stated that one break-light from a car can cause a 5 mile back-up in many areas.
With all this havoc it would be nice to sit back and relax on your way to work or just going to the mall. The “Uber Autonomous Car” is not that far along. This is technology is the option of just “renting” out the car; this is somewhat like a cab or a taxi. It should not be a surprise to anyone that currently drives a new vehicle. There are so many “safety features” that the car “almost drives itself” now (Rafter, 2014). The features would include: “Advanced driver assistance (which help with parallel parking), connectivity (such as Wi-Fi), some even have a child booster seat” added (Rafter, 2014). But don’t let this stop you from snazzing it up in an Uber driverless vehicle. Many of these features may be added in the vehicle but regardless it will be as if you have your personal chauffer.
The technology involved with the autonomous vehicle has been around for quite a while, it has just taken this long to get approval on the testing on the driverless side (at least in the United States). It was probably never heard of, a driverless car, who would have thought? It has actually been around for years, since the early 60’s, and there are many driverless vehicles currently in existence today. It is not just about cars. There is a future of “different roads, trains, connecting cars” (Weber, N.d.). There are many exciting things to be seen.
In the 60’s many sat around trying to figure out how to get “cars to navigate on their own by reverse-engineering” (Weber, N.d.). The technology was do-able but the “processing” was the tricky part (Weber, N.d.). There obviously many attempts but a noted, successful attempt wasn’t until the year of 2004. That was the year when the “Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration (DARPA)” offered a $1M reward for the first person to come up with a “driverless vehicle”. This would be used strictly for the “military as they wanted driverless vehicles available by this 2015” (Weber, N.d.). The technology behind the driverless vehicle is more about the sensors and the computation. So, how do they work? You combine the:
“the laser range finder on the roof, sensors, which include: four radars, mounted on the front and rear bumpers, that allow the car to "see" far enough to be able to deal with fast traffic on freeways; a camera, positioned near the rear-view mirror, that detects traffic lights; and a GPS, inertial measurement unit, and wheel encoder, that determine the vehicle's location and keep track of its movements.” (Guizzo, 2011)
The vehicle relies completely on the maps within the vehicle for GPS. There is still much work to be done. There would be a concern for the safety in regards to other vehicle that are non-driverless cars. Another concern would be the roads themselves. How would the car know if there is person or if it just a piece of paper or debris floating in the air? Would the vehicle on command with a sheet of paper?
While there are more good things to come with the autonomous vehicle’s one concern would be the economy or at least in the Detroit Metro Area where it considered the car company of the world. It is realized that with the capability of having Uber Driverless Vehicles available or a better Driverless train system, the need for household vehicles will diminish. That will reduce the volumes for the automotive suppliers which in turn could reduce employees at each of the Big Three (Ford Motor Company, General Motors and FCA [Chrysler]).
All in all, just the thought of a driverless car is overwhelming. The technology and how things actually work is tremendous and what engineers can do today. Flying vehicles within the next 20 years would not surprise me. But for now, let’s just take this one-day-at-a-time and enjoy the endless possibilities of having an autonomous car.