Driverless Cars Starting To Become Reality?

If Google has any say, driverless cars could soon be making their way to a highway near you. These cars have already been manufactured, taking the intelligence of home computers to a whole new level. Through the software in these vehicles, there is no need for a steering wheel, gas pedal or brakes. Many people are excited about this new technology, but there are also many concerns about what this will mean for the future of transportation.

RoadTripThe first models of Google’s driverless cars had no steering wheel, gas pedal or brake installed. Unfortunately, California’s DMV was not too thrilled with the absence of these parts and has stated they will not allow driverless vehicles that have no ability for a human to take control. While Google firmly states there is no reason for these parts to be included in the models, they will comply with the California DMV and have added temporary steering wheels and pedal systems to their models.

As of now, the latest Google vehicles are made to resemble smart cars and only hold two passengers. Since California will not allow these test cars on the roads unless the driver has the ability to monitor the operation and take over complete control of the vehicle, Google is continuing to tweak their models, to comply with all DMV rules and regulations. Each state may end up having their own rules, however, so it will be interesting to see if the federal government overtakes oversight of this issue to permit interstate travel.

As further research is done, it is hoped these vehicles will soon be on roads all across the country. The current model of vehicles only go around twenty-five miles per hour. It is planned that these vehicles will eventually have the ability to top those speeds.

There is plenty of time for Google to continue working with its software programming, so its vehicles are in top shape. The latest prototypes will not be seen on roadways for at least two years. Google is making sure to comply with all regulations, by incorporating new devices in their models, so these new options can be thoroughly tested.

One of the biggest concerns that many in the computer industry are having are how safe and secure the software operating the cars will be, and measures taken to ensure that they are hacker proof and spyware proof. There is a legitimate concern about this, as this could take hacking to a whole new level. Imagine being able to hijack these driverless cars and operate them remotely? You could conceivably cause an accident or even kidnap the person in the actual car itself. However, many measures are being taken, including specialized software to protect against malware and viruses, and especially hacking. Security is one of the biggest concerns in the development of these vehicles, and consumers should be aware of the precautions that are being undertaken.

If you are interested in learning more about these prototypes, be sure to check out Google’s latest news. Many are amazed at this new technology and what it will mean for drivers in the near future.


Are We Ready For Full Automation?

If there is one sure thing in our rapidly evolving world it is the fact that people will require some form of transportation. All things considered, the transportation industry has grown more in the last one and one quarter century that in all of human history combined. However, the automobile of today is still in its infancy with its operator controlled steering mechanisms and mechanically operated fuel and brake controls. The user interface alone is enough to show that the world’s vehicles must expand and adapt in order to meet the demands of the billions of drivers that will soon be on the highways of the world.

google-self-driving-carWhether people want to admit it or not, the future of the car is in automation. This type of control will require huge traffic analyzing computers and enough artificial intelligence to quickly select alternative routes when the original course suddenly gets overly congested or hazardous. Of course, all of this will also require a tremendous amount of trust on the part of the people using the system. This means that we will need to know that the computer systems we use to route global traffic can handle the job efficiently and whether the hardware and software will be robust enough to carry such a large load.

Surprisingly, this system is not so far away as some people think. Drivers already use global positioning systems to pinpoint where they are on the planet. New cars are quickly becoming Internet friendly with easy access to graphically accurate maps and GPS routing that practically guarantees arriving at your destination. Plus, the next step is already under development with companies like Google developing self controlled vehicles for future transportation needs. On the flip side of this, automotive makers are building modern eco-friendly vehicles with ever growing numbers of computers and surveillance equipment that cover all kinds of safety concerns.

Today’s limited visualization systems will evolve into tomorrows enhanced guidance controls. These powerful safety systems will reduce the amount of road fatalities so dramatically that people will wonder how their ancestors ever managed to drive such dangerous vehicles. Of course other benefits will exist like better planning for long trips and more accurate trip times, but perhaps the best benefit will be the reduced stop and go traffic that is the bane of drivers everywhere.

Of course it goes without saying that our computer systems need to be a little bit more robust before we start putting tens of millions of cars on the road with nothing more than a computer in control. Even our home PCs are much too prone to spyware, errors, and hacking. And this leaves the question of whether or not we will ever be able to put all of our trust into computers if the ability for them to be hacked is present. It seems that no matter how robust the system, it can still be hacked. This is why many people still insist on having some sort of human control over computers. For example, that’s why there is still a pilot in the cockpit of most commercial aircrafts even though many are often flown on autopilot.