What are they?
Autonomous cars are robotic cars. Informally, they are also known as driverless cars or self-driving cars. Technically speaking, it is an autonomous vehicle that is very much capable of driving itself. It can actually sense its environment and navigate itself to a specific location without a human driver.
How do they work?
Autonomous cars sense their environment through the help of already existing technologies like radar and GPS. There are some cars that need to be updated every now and then in order to navigate specific locations. So, humans still play a big role in the robotic cars of today.
Some of the many systems that are already used in today’s robotic cars include:
How soon will they be in production?
Probably the earliest attempt to produce such a technology was back in the 1930s. Also, in the 1980s, Mercedes Benz and a university in Munich built the very first driverless car. This was a vision-guided car that was designed by Ernst Dicmanns at the Bundeswehr University. It actually achieved a 39 miles per hour speed without traffic.
Companies are now trying to build more innovative autonomous cars. There have been numerous robotic vehicle prototypes since the 1980s. Some of the companies that are trying to produce this technology include Google, , Bosch, Toyota, Continental Automotive Systems and even Oxford University. Today, most of the available robotic cars are still merely prototypes. It is very likely, however, for these cars to become widespread in no time.
How much will they cost?
Google’s robotic car will cost roughly around $75,000. So, this car does come with a price tag. However, there had been news about a 19 year old boy from Romania, Ionut Alexandru Budisteanu, who was able to come up with the same technology for much less. He actually won the Gordon E. Moore Award during Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair for his system that uses 3D radar and a camera. His robotic car costs just around $4,000. So, this could very well be a good sign that the technology may not be that expensive in a couple more years.
Who will build them?
There are a wide range of institutions that are willing to spend millions to create the technology. Many of these are car companies but even universities are very much willing to fund the development of robotic cars.
They can be very beneficial to a lot of people. It is believed that accidents will be reduced with the use of robotic cars. Traffic will also be reduced because machines are more precise than humans. The time lost due to the constant stop and go during a traffic jam will then be tremendously reduced. Aside from that, a lot of people who have been immobile for years can claim their mobility back through the help of this technology. Senior citizens and people with disability will now be able to go wherever they want to go even without a driver.
How safe are they?
Just like any machine, it is very safe to use if used properly. Even a simple vegetable peeler can be dangerous if not used correctly. This is why it is still necessary to do more tests on this technology before mass production.
The team at Meyers Auto Parts are sharing with you.