Self-driving cars have been proclaimed as the solution to car accidents, removing the human risk factor from the equation, but those working on the technology say it won’t be perfect. Continue Reading…
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A self-driving pod car service is aiming to launch in the town of Milton Keynes in the U.K. by 2017.
As more and more automakers develop autonomous driving technology, experts believe that the industry needs a single standard sooner rather than later.
To further use technology to make our roadways safer, it was reported back in February that NHTSA wished to mandate vehicle-to-vehicle communication that could help reduce about 80 percent of today’s automotive-related crashes.
While speaking at the Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress, David Strickland said NHTSA is currently working with automakers and other government agencies to expedite the use of vehicle-to-vehicle communication in hopes that more vehicles on the road will be equipped with the technology in the near future.
Over at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute in Ann Arbor, an ongoing study is testing the technology to help guide NHTSA’s next steps. Its focus is to find the right interface for vehicles to communicate through in order to keep them non-distracting so drivers can keep their eyes on the road.
“The next North Star is keeping the crash from ever happening in the first place,” Strickland said. “We are hard at work from a research standpoint at figuring out the systems that have promise … so that one day we may see deeper penetration in the fleet.”
[Source: Detroit Free Press]
A car that drives itself might seem cool — until you realize it’s probably a Toyota Prius. What if you prefer something a more upscale automated chauffeur? It seems Google feels the same way by giving a Lexus RX450h the autonomous treatment.
The vehicle was spotted testing in Southern California and seems to be sporting a different sensor than some other autonomous vehicles Google used in the past. This unit seems smaller and a little more aerodynamic.
“In the course of our work, we experiment with testing our algorithms on various vehicles to help us improve our technology,” Google told Wired, essentially saying they’re progressing to a variety of vehicles.
Who knows when autonomous vehicles start making their way into dealerships, but a bill passed last week has made California a bit more friendly to self driving cars.
It was only December of last year when Google earned patents for autonomous vehicles. Now, the technology continues to rapidly move ahead as automotive supplier Continental has commenced testing a semi-autonomous vehicle of its own that is more affordable and could be among the first licensed for use on Nevada’s designated public roads by months end.
Nevada is the first state to pass laws regulating driverless vehicles. To qualify for a special state license, engineers at Continental have built and driven a heavily modified Volkswagen Passat with its brake and steering controls removed and replaced with sensors to digitally read and interpret surroundings. According to engineer Ibro Muharemovic, the Passat has logged almost 10,000 miles of autonomous driving and during a more recent trip from Las Vegas, Nevada, to Brimley, Michigan, home of Continental’s development and testing center, more than 90 percent of the journey did not involve the use of hands and feet.
Unlike Google’s ambitions to create a sophisticated fully autonomous vehicle, Continental went along to develop an interim semi-autonomous option that could take over duties during stop-and-go traffic or extended stretches of highway, the least satisfying of driving conditions. However, Continental and Google’s endpoint is identical: to create a solution that will reduce accidents, congestion, and fuel consumption. Continental director of engineering systems and technology Christian Schumacher said, “We still have a long way to go, but the technology is amazing.”
According to Ravi Pandit, CEO of India’s global IT and engineering company KPIT Cummins, “There is a strong business case for an autonomous car that can drop you off or a cab without the expense of a driver.”
Despite the optimism, mass production semiautonomous cars are still a couple years away. The technology exists but the idea raises questions of liability, regulation, and public acceptance. NHTSA will begin a study of autonomous driving in August with a one-year pilot project in Ann Arbor, testing 3,000 cars with the ability to communicate with one another to avoid an accident. What’s more, in an event of a crash, the law has yet to resolve who is reliable or whether the occupants of an autonomous car are legally exempt from bans on mobile devices.
As for passenger anxiety, Ravi Pandit is confident that, “A car can see better than a human can, and the car responds faster.”
Engineer Ibro Muharemovic commented, “I was surprised by how well it worked.” Continental’s Volkswagen Passat is fitted with a stereo camera that can monitor speed-bumps or potholes as far as 220 yards away and adjust steering, braking, and acceleration accordingly. Muharemovic adds, “The driver is always in control and can override the system any time.”
If testing is successful and Continental is qualified for Nevada registration, a special red license plate will be provided to distinguish the driverless car. In the future, production driverless cars would receive a green license plate.
Check out video footage of Continental’s autonomous Volkswagen Passat driving itself below. Continue Reading…
At this year’s show, Toyota will participate in the “Smart Mobility City 2011″ exhibit, designed to showcase the future of transportation. One of the highlights of the display will be the Toyota A.V.O.S. (Automatic Vehicle Operation System), a modified Prius that can drive by itself. Designed as a valet replacement, the car can park by itself, drive to the owner when requested and avoiding obstacles.
Toyota’s booth is themed “A not-too-distant future where society and transportation are linked” and will also showcase the Toyota Smart Mobility Park with new charging stations for electric cars and plug-in hybrids, using wind and solar power. In addition, Toyota will reveal its H2V (Home to Vehicle) Manager, which allows an operator to control charging times for an electric vehicle via a PC or smartphone, as well as check the house’s power supply.
See AutoGuide’s complete 2011 Tokyo Motor Show Preview here and look for coverage starting November 30th.
We all drool over the latest technologies, wait in line to buy them and show them off to our less fortunate friends. But a recent study shows that while we love them, we’re also frustrated when they crash and freeze. The study goes on to say that even though we’re frustrated, 49 percent of us would love to let a driverless car chauffeur us around.
According to a new Accenture survey that polled 2,000 British and American consumers, people are most interested in gadgets that do stuff automatically. These include smartphones, GPS systems, home appliances and vehicles. And if they’ll make your life easier, you’re willing to pay more for it.
Even though the survey largely concentrated its efforts in the electronics department and what people want in future models, it just goes to show you that people are really warming up to the idea of autonomous cars to get them around. But even though we’re more open to the idea, do you think the world is ready for the driverless car? We know that Google had pretty good results from their autonomous vehicle, but is the general public ready for this technology? Let us know in the comment section below.
We’ve also included the rest of the press release after the jump, so feel free to give it a read.
Did you ever see one of the Google street view cars? Was it driving itself?
We’re sure you would have done a double take if you saw a Toyota Prius with a funnel-like cylinder on the roof. This car is a project of Google – it’s been under wraps, yet at the same time in plain view. These vehicles can drive themselves by using artificial-intelligence software that can sense anything near the car and mimic the decisions made by a human driver.
The seven test cars always had someone behind the wheel to take control if something went wrong, as well as technician in the passenger seat to monitor the navigation system. They drove 1,000 miles without human intervention and more than 140,000 miles with only occasional human control. The only accident occurred when a Google car was rear-ended while stopped at a traffic light.
Engineers behind the cars believe these vehicles are much safer than those driven by humans. Robot drivers react faster than humans, have 360-degree perception and do not get distracted, sleepy or intoxicated. They also state that this technology could double the capacity of roads by allowing cars to drive more safely while closer together. And since the robot cars would be less likely to crash, they could be built lighter, reducing fuel consumption.
Unfortunately, these cars won’t be making their way into a dealership anytime soon, but it does provide the next step in the next generation of super smart cars.
It also might just mean that Google is sucking the fun out of driving.