Driverless Cars: The New Normal?

09 Sep

Currently, both Google and Uber are trialing their driverless car prototypes. You may have seen them on movies such as Back to the Future and Demolition Man, but cars that are self-driven on the road are soon to be a reality for the regular Joe’s among us!

The idea of getting in a vehicle that can think for itself and be on the road without anyone taking control can be unsettling for some. The imagery of being on the busy motorways with lorries and trucks bearing down either side and not having hands on the wheel? Sure, that’s a little intense! But driverless cars are the future – aren’t they?

It’s a bit of a race among the technological bigwigs: to get the driverless car on the road first! It’s thought that within the next ten years, driverless cars could be coming up the ranks for the most used cars on the road. One of the cited benefits of driverless cars is improved safety, which everyone will agree will be a huge draw. Current road crash statistics say that up to 50million people are injured in a car crash on the road every year, meaning that the need for solicitors for car accident claims is currently quite high. Keeping people safe on the road is a high priority for most car makers, and automated cars have the ability to take impaired judgement out of the equation, making them safer than the standard vehicle controlled on the road today.

The way the car is safer than what we have today comes down to the software. We all know that we live in a world with increasing technological developments, and some of those developments are evolving faster than we could image. Cars that are automated are designed purely to have the recognition of the world around them. The sensors that they have built into them are almost superhuman, able to pick up on the same senses we use to drive. Cameras, built-in radar and even lasers play a part in replicating the human senses to make the software of the car sensitive and in-tune with the world. Automated cars take in the data that the sensors pick up and feed it into a central system, effectively creating a ‘memory’ of what it has experienced.

The more data you can feed the ‘brain’ of the car, the more it can learn in terms of safety. Weather conditions, objects that can get in the way and even pedestrians on the street can be recognised. This type of smart car isn’t the same as this one here, but if you have a huge network of driverless cars on the road who all recognise each other, surely the safety aspect is there? Humans would have to ‘train’ the cars to build up their memory, and the cars themselves would have to undergo rigorous testing to ensure they work the way they’re supposed to. Driverless cars are predicted to halve the amount of accidents and deaths on the road – so, they don’t sound all too bad, really!


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Posted by on September 9, 2011 in Guest content


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