The race to be the first to deploy autonomous vehicles is on among carmakers, emerging startups, and tech giants. Amid this constant news cycle of deals and drama, the purpose of all of it can get lost — or at least a bit muddied. What exactly are these companies racing for?
Right now, you can head over to a local Volvo dealership and test drive a 2017 Volvo S90. With the push of a button, drivers can watch the car take over steering to stay within a lane, slow itself down in rush-hour traffic and accelerate — up to 80 mph — on the highway. It’s the first Volvo to include the second-generation Pilot Assist as a standard feature.
But, even equipped with radar and a 360-degree camera that can distinguish humans from deer, bicyclists and other cars, the $47,000 S90 sedan is not an autonomous vehicle. A driver must be in the seat and frequently touch the steering wheel. Otherwise, the car slows down.
The AImotive office is in a small converted house at the end of a quiet residential street in sunny Mountain View, spitting distance from Google’s headquarters. Outside is a branded Toyota Prius covered in cameras, one of three autonomous cars the Hungarian company is testing in the sleepy neighborhood. It’s a popular testing ground: one of Google’s driverless cars, now operating under spin-out company Waymo, zips past the office each lunchtime.
Cars will be able to talk to each other to avoid accidents, merge onto highways and drive us to a destination we set on the GPS sometime in the near future. This type of technology is actually already on the roads across the world and will be rolling out in Australia over the next few years.
Japan has hotels that are operated by robots and androids that serve as clerks at department stores. The latest unmanned project to come out of Japan is the robot cab. (Video)
It has been confirmed, Apple is building its own autonomous car. With Apple’s entry, it’s clear. The automotive industry has opened up again. The manufacturers we’ve become so familiar with over the last century — Daimler, Ford, BMW, Volkswagen, Toyota, and General Motors — aren’t necessarily the vendors we’ll be thinking of in the future. Competition is increasingly going to come from tech firms like Tesla, Google, and Apple, each of whom is building towards a future of autonomous vehicles that are basically highly advanced computers on wheels.
On any given morning in the year 2025, you’re running late for work, but your self-driving car senses you coming and gets ready to pick you up. Once you’re inside, it syncs with your mobile devices, calculates the least congested route, and finds someone else heading in the same direction, so your cars can link up to save space on the road. As the car drives, you catch up on email.
Tube transportation – ET3
By Jared Lindzon: The average transportation speed of American citizens was 4 miles per hour in the year 1850. The primary mode of transportation then was a combination of walking and horse back.
Futurist Thomas Frey: Much of the world around us has been formed around key pieces of infrastructure. Most see this as a testament to who we are as a society, and part of the cultural moorings we need to guide us into the future.
Baidu wants to keep the individual in control.
Would you prefer to ride in a completely autonomous self-driving car, like Google’s self-driving car, or one like Chinese search engine Baidu’s semi-autonomous car? Instead of cars that have no steering wheels, gas pedals, or brake pedals for drivers to control, Baidu is thinking about cars with intelligent assistants who help you drive.
FBI is more optimistic about the benefits of driverless cars when it comes to surveillance efforts.
Self-driving cars are a “potential lethal weapon,” but could make surveillance “more effective and easier,” according to FBI claims in an internal report surfaced by the Guardian.
When will the driverless car become reality?
We know that driverless cars are the future. What we don’t know for sure, however, is when that future will arrive. The most recent entrant into this exciting field is Cruise Automation, a startup based in San Francisco.