Self-Drive Cars – Are They Viable?

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is normally all about the latest innovations in electronics, but there have been some interlopers this year that have drawn significant interest – namely cars, or to be more exact, self-driving cars.

Sergey Brin Of Google

Sergey Brin Of Google

It is widely presumed that at some future time you will be able to read the local newspaper or catch up on some work while driving to the office. If you are hung-over from last nights party you could even get some extra sleep, but for today however, its still science fiction.

After reading some reports on the development of self-drive cars it becomes clear that we still have a long way to go despite the fact that Governor Edmund G Brown Jr. of California has signed a Bill allowing driver-less cars in the State after riding in a Prius upgraded by Google and ‘driven’ by co-founder Sergey Brin.

BMW On The Road

BMW On The Road

There can be little doubt that the technology is available today for the production of these vehicles, but at the moment the hold-up is that its not quite ready for the job because no-one wants to drive around in a car that has antenna’s sticking out all over it. Given time however, these problems will be overcome and we will see the first versions going into production. In my opinion it may take another ten years but the time is fast approaching.

The big question in many people’s minds is: Would you trust your life to a box of electronics built into your car?

Pilots In The Cockpit Make Everyone Feel Comfortable

Pilots In The Cockpit Make Everyone Feel Comfortable

We have for many years had the technology for pilot-less planes that will take-off, fly you to your destination and land without any human intervention, but the truth is, no-one wants to fly in an airliner that does not have a pilot at the controls. In the back of most people’s minds there is the fear that something may happen that is outside the scope of a box of electronics to fix. Many passengers still don’t realize that apart from the take-off and landing the flight is controlled by the ‘box of tricks’ in the electronics bay anyway. Apart from the final 200 feet or so landings can be automated where bad weather does not allow the pilot to see where he’s going.

Toyota Lexus Experimental Car

Toyota Lexus Experimental Car

So what about cars? Your daily commute to work or the wife’s shopping trip could be fully automated but would you step into such a car knowing that although you sit in the drivers seat you are nothing more than a passenger? I believe in the majority of cases the answer would be: No way! As humans we like to feel we are in charge and its our decisions that count so to hand over control to a bunch of circuit boards and wires would indeed be a big step. I can well foresee that eventually we will get over our phobia’s but it will take a long time and we will need a lot of convincing.

Could Be A Problem!

Could Be A Problem!

Several auto manufacturers have been experimenting in this area including Toyota, Ford, BMW, Audi and Lincoln and much progress has been made, most of it in the right direction thankfully. Driver-less cars have been tested on our roads for a very long time, and the funny thing is, no-one has ever noticed even though the manufacturers have notch up thousands of miles. One thing is for sure it won’t have been the idiot tail-gating you on the motorway!  

All manufacturers hope driver-less cars will greatly reduce the number of accidents on the worlds’ roads, which is admirable. As you can imagine, where the car goes will be dependent on a sophisticated navigation system that ensures you end up in the right place. Its no good you wanting to go from Las Vegas to Chicago and end up in Ontario Canada.  

One Task Left To Us Humans!

One Task Left To Us Humans!

I’ll leave you with one last thought: Will driver-less cars also fill their own petrol tank when required or will that mundane chore be left up to the human passenger?


One Response to “Self-Drive Cars – Are They Viable?”

  1. motor Werks

    Self-Drive Cars


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