Driverless cars appear to be taking the world by storm. While still in the infant stages, the concept has caught on big time. Companies like Google have already begun testing their technology on cars such as the Toyota Prius and Audi TT to impressive results. While it will take some time for the bugs to be ironed out, a former General Motors official is of the view that the technology can be expected to fully hit us by 2020.
Ex GM R&D head, Larry Burns, said that commuters spend about 60 to 90 minutes a day inside their vehicles. The aim is to return that wasted time back to people. Autonomous cars can help to achieve this as they work using a high tech system of driving. If combined with smart traffic systems, then these futuristic cars could one day solve traffic jam issues and mishaps.
For most, self driving cars may seem like a distant dream. But our technology allows us to invent and build new components to make all this possible. With the use of lasers, computers, radars, sensors and cameras, current prototypes have shown that they’re pretty capable of navigating around problem terrains, obeying traffic signals and ‘seeing’ pedestrians and other obstacles on the street.
The prototypes being developed today still needs an operator to oversee the car’s functions. But human interference is pretty minimal and consists of having drivers handle situations that the car cannot. For instance, if a sensor is lost or malfunctions, the system lets the driver know so that he can take over control.
These futuristic cars will benefit drivers who need help operating their vehicles. The elderly, visually impaired and physically handicapped people could likely be the target audience especially at the beginning. The technology could also prove to be a boon for younger and inexperienced drivers learning the ropes of controlling a car.