Earlier this week, Oxford University unveiled their autonomous robotic vehicle which can not only drive itself, it can think. These autonomous thinking cars will eventually be able to communicate with each other (via the internet).
They will be able to make decisions, move and anticipate more quickly than human drivers, thus preventing accidents and maintaining safety on the road as much as possible. At least this is the idea behind the design. Autonomous cars are also likely to be electric powered and therefore more eco friendly.
Driverless cars, buses, and rental vans are being touted as the way of the future, ridding us of road rage and other car related stresses. The plan it seems is to have autonomous cars on the market and fully usable by around 2018.
Oxford University is not alone in developing autonomous, driverless cars. The “MadeinGermany” car has been roaming the streets of Berlin on its own for several months already and is doing quite well. Equally in America Google is testing a driverless hybrid Toyota Prius.
An iPhone app called iDriver has also been developed. The iDriver app allows users to drive their car via remote control using their iPhone. There may be many applications for this app, though in my mind at the moment it seems to lend more toward the work of Dr. Horrible than anything else. If robotic cars can soon think for themselves, they may not enjoy being controlled by super villains (or average humans).
It may be that these robotic vehicles become the first thinking robots to be fully integrated into our lives. It’s not surprising really as some luxury cars can already park themselves. Equally, anti-lock breaks and cruise control systems are handled by the incorporation of a computer. This is merely the next stage of development.
Despite the successful testing of many autonomous vehicles in the UK (Oxford), Germany, and the US, many are wondering whether drivers will trust autonomous cars with their life. In question are the tactics required to induce trust in There is also the question of driver enjoyment as many find driving in certain conditions to be incredibly freeing and relaxing. What will it take for drivers to give up that pleasure? Would you?
Many companies are also developing electric and autonomous prototypes in preparation for widespread implementation of driverless vehicles.
Would you like a driverless car? Does this development excite or worry you?
I myself am of two minds about it. I love driving, but at the same time being able to read and let a car navigate long queues and congestion for me would be wonderful.
Guest Post: K Newey is a web copywriter who enjoys hearing about technological developments and pondering how the future of humanity might unfold. She thinks autonomous vehicles especially for van leasing and van contract hire is probably a great idea.