TO: The Engineering Community
FROM: University of Washington Engineering Student
SUBJECT: Self-driven cars: danger to the future engineers?
A Self-driven car is a vehicle with an autopilot system fitted to allow it move from one point to another without human operator. This car is automatically driven by computers using a distinct technology designed for driverless cars. The technology is however different from those used in vehicles with remote operators like the Bombardier Advanced Rapid Transit Systems (Kingsley, 2009). The big questions are; how does car works? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the car? And how will this invention affect the future technology? This paper highlights some of these issues and tries to give answer to these questions (Thrun, 2010). The paper is divided into three distinct parts with the first part focusing on the description on what this a self-driven car and how the car works, the second part highlights the advantages and disadvantages while the last part discusses its effects on the future technology.
WHAT ARE THE SELF-DRIVEN CARS AND HOW DO THEY WORK?
Self-driven cars are cars are cars under a Google project to develop a technology for driverless cars. The project is under taken by a team of 15 engineers from Google. The team is currently headed by Dr. Sebastian Thrum, the director of Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Dr. Thrum is also the co-inventor of Google Street View the team which invented robotic car Stanley. The other engineers are all from Google some have worked for DARPA (Fredric, 2010).
The system uses information collected for Google Street View combining it with inputs from video cameras inside the cars, radar sensors in front of the car, lidar sensor on top of the car and a sensor on one of the wheels to help locate the position of the map (Kingsley, 2009). This sensor technology uses the artificial intelligence software and employees varied approaches of both the minimalist ARGO projects with monochrome stereoscopy to that of mobileye’s inter-modal approach. Mobileye technology focuses on the vision-based Advanced Driver Assistance Systems which provide warnings to prevent collusions while the minimalist approach focuses on initiating human situations while seeking to obtain much information as it’s possible in the current technology.
According to a top Google official who is part of the team undertaking the project, the accuracy of the system will reduce the accidents making travelling safer. This is because the system will have no error since everything is controlled by machines (Thrun, 2010). Those supporting the invention envision a world with computer-driven vehicles that will revolutionize the highways by allowing cars to drive closer to each other without the risk of accidents occurring.
a. Save money on construction
There are various economic advantages that emerge with the new Google software of driverless cars. In the United States there have been several positive economic changes as a result of the new technology of self-driver cars (Kingsley, 2009). The government of the United States is currently employing fewer drivers for public vehicles. The reduced costs of drivers and instead the funds are being allocated advance the new technology. Moreover, the robotic and self-driver cars reduces insurances cost from the insuring companies. This cost is reduced because the rate of accidents on the roads is in turn reduced.
b. Driving will be more safe and no drinking and driving
The safety system of the driver-less cars is taking ever greater control from the drivers to eschew collisions or at least reduce the injuries and dead. This will reduce the frequent fatalities that have been occurring in the roads as a result of careless driving. Within a few years, cars will steer peculiar of accidents with no any driver input at al (Thrun, 2010). These so-called cashless cars will emerge as a result of customer expectation of safety, pressure from the government, heavy loads, the older, incapacitated population, and the adoption of the less heavy vehicles with no much crashworthy structures. Meanwhile, engineers have demonstrated the crashless cars together with the robotic vehicles. This means that the driverless cars are not far off (Fredric, 2010).
c. Less consumption
Cars will use less gasoline, because there would be less need for acceleration and braking. Driverless cars are also not prone to bad habits usually with human drivers (Fredric, 2010). The economic fuel economic test made by the auto manufacturer Ford reveals that eschewing excessive idling, an exaggerated use of ACs, and aggressive driving can reduce the consumption of fuel around 20%
Among many disadvantages of driverless cars is the fact that the automatic machine depends on the information gathered from the sensors and may in addition accept information that is signaled to it by pedestrians. As in the normal cars, human driver may communicate with pedestrians, and a human may access the int3ention of the moving creatures on the roads.
In conclusion, the technological advances in robotics and artificial intelligence will bring a revolution in the automobile with its potential impacts felt across the world. This will further prove that the ambitions of Google are far much beyond the search engine business. The success of the invention also signifies the departure of the mainstream innovations taking place in Silicon valley that have always been narrowed to social networks and Holly-wood –style digital media.
Thrun, S. Driverless Cars: Driverless Car, Darpa Grand Challenge, Vehicle Infrastructure Integration, , San
Francisco: (2010) General Books LLC.
Frederic P. M & Agnes F. Driverless Car: Driverless Car, DARPA Grand Challenge, San Francisco: (2009)
Alpha script publishing,
Kingsley, D. After the Car, Polity, New York: 2009