What’s next: Automated driverless electric cars

Automated driverless electric cars

An automated unmanned car is basically an automobile that does not require human intervention for its functioning. As it is already equipped with an autopilot mechanism that can enable it to drive from one end to the other without the need of an operator. There are many unmanned cars that are being developed.

such as the 2 get there passenger vehicles from the Netherlands, the DARPA Grand Challenge from the US, the ARGO research project from Italy, the Google unmanned car as well as the EC Eureka Prometheus Project. The very first unmanned car was developed by Tsukuba Mechanical Engineering Laboratory in the year 1977 which accomplished a maximum speed of 20 mph. This was followed by the driverless creation by the Mercedes Benz called the robot van during the 80s that could reach a speed of 60 mph. Unmanned cars make use of various sub systems for their functioning like sensors, that take account of the surroundings and obstacles during navigation. Some unmanned vehicles are totally autonomous that can navigate in unknown surroundings whereas other have a pre-built infrastructure. There are some cars that assist the drivers such as in reverse driving and parking and so on.

Need for change

The main thing that is required to promote electric cars would be provide ample refueling stations with help from the Government to make this a viable proposition. Unmanned electric cars would make a lot of sense in the times to come as the software would be able to direct the vehicle for the nearest recharging station and so on with fluidity in travel and minimum interruptions. The technology for making high-powered batteries that would last longer would of course be a great investment. Furthermore, today’s generation would like to have all their high-tech gadgets in place, hence it is important to have cars that are MP3 enabled with Bluetooth functionality and so on. Many top auto manufacturers are due to come out with their innovative electric unmanned cars soon that have features like automatic door locking and opening, automatic dialing of 911 in case of emergencies, GPS navigation and weather and sports update as well! Gradually, these auto piloted cars would be more sophisticated with better sensors that would provide intelligence to the car in terms of where the car is and where it wants to go, recognition of lane markers, steering, braking and so on. These computer-driven cars would definitely cut down on road accidents as they would be collision proof. Furthermore, the passengers can gain more thrills with the higher speeds and lower rate of energy consumption and no risk of accidents. This technology would probably be in place within a span of ten years making them indispensable.

What’s next?

1. Google’s driverless cars

Google’s Driverless Cars

What’s new?

Google’s foray to making auto engines apart from search engines is a great variation from what they usually do with the new Driverless Car by Google. This ambitious project is presently headed by Sebastian Thrun from Google who is the co-inventor of Google Street View as well as the director of Standford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. He has the distinction of winning the DARPA Grand Challenge in 2005 with his creation of the robotic vehicle called Stanley at Stanford. This vehicle would most probably be driven legally on the public roads in the state of Nevada for which two bills are proposed by the state legislation.

What difference will it make?

This driverless car by Google would collect data from the Google Street View using the artificial intelligence software as well as the video camera images from the car. There will be a LIDAR sensor located on the roof of the car as well as on the front of the car that will enable it to located the car’s placing on the map. Prototypes of this car have already undergone testing by Google with slight human intervention when traveling longer distances. However, the accuracy of this car is still being tested and perfected till the time it becomes totally accurate. With this car, there will be fewer casualties pertaining to traffic as well as deaths.

Problems

Till date Google has not thought about commercializing this driverless vehicle and they would be tying up with automobile manufacturers with the manufacturing of these cars by giving them the technological aid. However, the main concern has been raised regarding the legality of such driving method as only humans are to drive vehicles as per the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Only with the introduction of a new law, will it be feasible to bring this cutting edge technology to the road.

2. Driverless taxis in europe

Driverless Taxis

What’s new?

Soon Heathrow will be seen with a fleet of driverless taxis, Rome streets will be seen with cyber cars and automatic buses in Castellón, Spain. This is the united dream of Europe to see driverless vehicles that could lessen the traffic jams and bring in more safety in terms of driving. Ten countries from the EU have come together to develop their very own driverless transportation with a funding of around 40 million Euros.

What difference will it make?

These pilotless cars will first be seen at the Heathrow Airport in London which will be driven on the Ultra technology that will take the passengers from the airport to their selected locations. In Rome these cyber cars will drive away without a driver and take visitors to the new exhibition center from the train station of parking lot and will ply along a designated lane. In Castellon, Spain, the driverless buses are yet to be tested and will ply on separate lanes. These vehicles most certainly would reduce the traffic bottlenecks apart from reducing the number of traffic-related accidents and deaths.

Problems

The only problem that encounters such projects is the fact that they are 100% accurate and do not lead to collisions or any other flaws in the robotic mechanism of the car.

3. GM’s driverless electric car

GM’s Driverless Electric Car

What’s new?

General Motors is building a driverless electric car that is named the Electric Network Vehicle or the EN-V. This vehicle is a two seater that is built using the Segway dynamic stabilization technology that enables the vehicle to carry light cargo as well as two passengers in a space that is only 1/3 of a regular car. This car would be powered by lithium-ion batteries and you can recharge them from a regular power outlet. This vehicle can be driven both on auto pilot as well as manually. This car will be launched in the Chinese market in a big way and there is also the probability of them plying the roads of the Olympic Park in London after the Olympics being held next year.

What difference will it make?

The EN-V would definitely decrease the traffic congestion and due to its smaller frame, there would be more parking space available. Since it is an electric vehicle, so it will not pollute the air and would also be more affordable.

Problems

The only problem faced by this car would be that it would only appeal to a certain population due to its size that cannot carry more than two passengers. Furthermore, the car needs more testing and reruns before it finally gets launched into the market.

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