Driverless car: The revolution in auto industry

In the view of lack of adequate and effective public transport system, cars have painfully become a necessity for each and every home. Due to certain shortcomings in today’s driving and street conditions, corporations started thinking of cars that would play on auto-pilot, a technology feature already existing in the airplanes.

You may already be aware that Google with a team of over 15 engineers has been spending a lot of time and money on the concept of driverless cars. It works with the assistance of cameras and sensors to guide it around. Google claims to have clocked over 500,000 miles with the fleet so built with technology. These tests have been going in various states,

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at different times of the day, in different conditions of traffic density, on city roads, on freeways, on mountainous roads. Whether there will be a steering wheel, whether a person sitting inside would have access to controls in case of something going wrong – are questions not having answers yet. The concept has yet to step out in a commercial form. It is most interesting but also interesting is the idea of its success when all the cars on road today are manual. The gelling of manual driven cars vis-à-vis driverless ones on the roads together would make an interesting study. If you think of the quantity of technology being put into cars already, the concept would appear to be a small extension to what is there already and hence the concept may not impress many. We already have computer assisted features to identify a problem with some assembly – warning lamps indicating it needs attention; parking sensors to assist in performing a swift and safe parking.

The general benefits expected from driverless cars are not difficult to imagine – it would make the roads safer, take out the mishaps that occur due to human error and thus save the humanity from massive losses arising out of the same. Poor driving skills, less time to respond to a sticky situation, drunk driving, dozing off and carelessness are the common causes it would obviously be addressing that cripples many people every year. To cite figures, 90% of the accidents indicate human error as the key reason.

Further it is not tough to imagine that with more such autonomous cars on the roads, it would be possible for them to interact with each other. This communication would be valuable in charting a common channel for all vehicles travelling to the same destination or direction. This could possibly reduce the congestion in the streets, freeways and motorways and on traffic signals. Currently, this is achieved by individual driver in each vehicle, thinking in his own way of escaping out of the mess, and thereby creates a greater mess, inadvertently.

Communication would also make all such cars maintain a pre-defined distance from each other and thus avoid collision; currently drivers train on this aspect and fail to adhere to it.

Driverless cars, if you think of it, would benefit the elderly as well as ones with disabilities. Driverless cars possibly could reduce their dependence on others to a certain extent.

Velodyne 64 beam laserWell what does the technology involve? As indicated earlier, it involves a laser range finder contraption sitting on the top of a vehicle that is capable of detecting obstacles in the vicinity and has intelligence to navigate too with the help of Velodyne 64 beam laser. The sensor is capable of seeing in all directions with its 360 degree viewing ability and has a limited but sufficient vertical viewing ability. With this 3D laser measurement data in hand, the onboard application interfaces with high resolution maps producing data models that tell the car of how it should navigate while adhering to traffic regulations. The bumpers of the car are mounted with up to 4 radars, traffic light detecting gadget on the rear view mirror, GPS, wheel encoder etc. Wheel encoders measure the data to tell the car how much further it would go. Here, you might wonder of the purpose of the rear view mirror; well we most certainly would pass it on to Google!

The governments of the various states are truly in great stress and finds laying down a performance standard pretty challenging. With the qualifications of the staff in the government inferior than those sitting in the offices of hi-tech companies – anyone can see that there looms a big divide, difficult to bridge.

Driverless cars are sure to come; but before that there are a lot of challenges to be taken care of. One can only imagine of the impacts and perhaps test them. But when launched formally, it is certain to pose a picture that would not have been possible to visualize earlier; this would come at painful costs. Would it also impact the number of jobs and profits and infrastructure? Most likely so – chauffeurs, insurance companies, fuel industry, steel production – many could be made to take the hit.

Nobody said it would be easy!

7 Comments

  1. Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful ! I’m still waiting for some interesting thoughts from your side in your next post thanks.

  2. Love road trips, especially by car! There are a lot of best places to visit. I can’t wait more, for this driver-less car.
    Thanks for useful information.

  3. Thanks for posting such useful blogs. Driver less car is a very good invention which take its passengers automatically wherever they want. After some days Google is going to hit the road with it’s new invention that is autonomous car. It is really amazing that it will function without any steering wheel ,pedals and accelerator . The main advantage is there will be no more accidents due to human error. An user can do anything while driving the car like read, text, talk on the phone and main thing he can take nap also.

  4. This is an article reminding us the importance of Driverless car these days. Because, you can see that damages done by people while driving the car carelessly. This technology is really helpful to avoid unwanted car accidents at least. Driverless car concept just signifies the fact that no human error will be there and that’s why this is going to be a great revolution in Auto industry. Everything will be self operated, which is really good.

    • Thanks for your feedback. Yeah, it’s going a great revolution. Self-driven car is definitely interesting. I am also looking forward to this experience.

  5. Thanks for sharing a useful blog, well, Driverless car is an advance concept what I came to know and it will be more beneficial to the senior citizens. And also hope, it will limit the chance of accidents on roads as there will be no human errors. Though the concept has rooted up but still need to know how much time the car manufactures will take to implement it for real. Sometimes the new concept has made but to make it real it takes years for some manufacturers.

  6. Regarding the timing, well it can’t be said due to the complex analysis, examination and testing procedures involving in such technical evolution. But the good news is that they are already in the testing process and hope within couple of years, it will be on the road. Cheers!

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