Driverless Cars

Driverless Cars

The digital revolution that occurred at the end of the previous century has very effectively changed the entire world around us. While only two decades ago, a handwritten letter was a perfectly acceptable mode of communication, today such letters are typically written solely to emphasize the personal and emotional connection between the individual. The instantaneous transfer of information allowed by the internet to practically any place on the globe, has not only manage to change the idea of interpersonal communication, but has also facilitated the rapid transfer of knowledge between scholars, scientists and inventor, ultimately resulting in a faster and continuous advancement of technology. Some of the technologies, which in the past might have only been present in Hollywood science-fiction movies, are not only being actively researched but some of them have already resulted in working prototypes and are expected to be released on the general consumer market in the not-too-distant future. One type of such revolutionary technologies is the driverless car, and the various prototypes already show potential in terms of reducing automobile-related accidents.

While the idea behind the driverless car itself is rather self-explanatory, designing such vehicle is another topic all together. After all, as any person that has ever watched a science-fiction movie will surely agree, there is a huge difference between being able to imagine a product, and being able to utilize the currently available means to actually manufacture it. First of all, any design of a future driverless car will have to guarantee the safety of not only the passengers of such vehicle, but also that of every other car on the road. While in many fields today computer-controlled robotic devices are becoming the tool of choice for various procedures, these devices are not perfect, and there is always some risk of a future malfunction. If such computer malfunction occurs in a driverless car, moving close to a hundred mile per hour, the effects may be disastrous to both its passengers and others cars on the road. Therefore, the safety of any future driverless car is considered the most important issue, and every prototype has to go through very extensive testing before it can ever be allowed on any public road in the United States.

However, despite these serious safety concerns, many manufacturers of automobiles has been able to successfully design a driverless car able to pass many of these most rigorous safety tests. One of the prototypes of such driverless cars has been manufactured by the German automaker Audi, and has caused quite a media frenzy when it was unveiled in the early 2013. The car itself features numerous sensors able to detect various objects in its path, including physical obstacles, other vehicles, and possible pedestrians, as well as takes advantage of numerous sensors placed in its vicinity allowing it to project a three-dimensional image of the area. The demonstration of the car has shown it successfully maneuvering through a parking garage, finding a parking spot, and parking itself without being assisted by any human driver. Furthermore, the car is expected to go through its first tests on public roads in the near future, with several cities in Arizona and Nevada considered possible testing sites.

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