The brand new technology coming around the corner could not have hit society any sooner. This type of new automotive engineering is intriguing in many ways, it is, self-driving cars. It is important to learn more about this uprising, and useful technology because people seem to be excited about modern, thriving practical applications, especially if it is a step into the future.
Is It Too Soon?
Unsurprisingly, advanced technology is not always a paved road, there are many difficult obstacles to overcome for car manufacturers and many more for technical engineers. This is why people all over the globe are arguing and claiming: it is a positive step forward in technology and should be allowed for the public, whilst others are saying that it should stay off the roads because it is too dangerous and too soon for society.
Even though self-driving cars are still very recent, the time that was put into developing and testing it was way greater. For example, the leading autonomous car company, Tesla, had put eight years into researching how the new features of the car would work. There are many components that have to lead up to this product, one of the most important factors would be the new technology that the industry acquired. Through various design prototypes, it received many improvements such as SONAR waves and laser detectors, which work to detect an object, reflect off of the object, and collect the data for it to be analyzed. Even though lasers are very helpful, there is a limit to their functionality. Once the object is too far, the lasers become useless, and that’s when the car starts to use RADAR waves which are slightly similar to SONAR waves, but the difference is that RADAR emits an electromagnetic wave and afterward it records the waves that were reflected off the object.
How Safe Are They
Even with high-end technology like this, the cars are still not ready for the roads. An important contributing factor is a pretty major one, and that is human error. The weakest link in driving is the driver itself, that’s why more Americans died in car crashes in 2016 than in the three years of the Korean War, “Ninety-four percent of car collisions are caused by human error,” said Michael Hendrix on a National Review interview. This factor led businesses and investors to spend over a hundred million dollars in high-end technology for self-driving cars since 2010 and with this financial support from outside sources, companies begin to create higher quality autonomous cars.
Nowadays there are some semi-autonomous cars in the market for the public customers, but these cars are only a level 2 autonomy which means that a human still needs to take over for most of the drive. Even though autonomous cars are very new, there have been some advancements from major companies like Google and their newest project called Waymo. They have started to engineer an autonomous car that will not only pass current competition because of the huge recognition but also because it is a level 4 autonomous. Waymo is being tested in Chandler, Arizona because it has a variety of wide roads, very predictable sunny weather and the most contributing factor being that it has a city council with a vision for the future. Waymo’s intent is not to be a highly classified project, they want as much input and opinions from the public as possible, that’s why they held an open house at their headquarters, to the which two thousand residents showed up. Although the technology is here, it has not been implemented for public use, taking into consideration all of the advancements in the last few decades, professionals say fully autonomous cars will not be seen for customers until 2060.
This uncertainty raises the question of whether autonomous cars should be allowed to drive on public roads, especially now since they are not fully developed. Even though there is a lot of research to be done on this topic, it is still very recent, therefore leading to very big limitations on the majority of the manufacturing thus leading to even a more substantial limitation to the research element. Optimistically, there will be great advances in this section of technology within the next years, and customers and big investors expect the next few steps to include full autonomy, if not, incremented improvements on semi-autonomous cars. Companies and the media will be releasing new information towards the future, and significant information will become convenient for further research and studies.
Guest article written by: Victor Romo