“Imagine it’s 6.30 pm and you have just wind up a meeting. You have still some sort of works to do in your “must do” list without postponing them to night. It takes only 25 minutes to do those stuff but you have to face one hour traffic jam on your way to home. But no worries today.”
The new technology could provide the solutions for some major social problems. Just to name a few high cost of transportation infrastructure, time wasted in the traffic, over space for parking in urban areas etc. But solutions are met if the self-driving vehicles become a reality.
In the early stage of the 21st century automotive industry innovations has been speeding up and the industry experience a technology revolution. “Self-driving” vehicles.
Google has taken the step to make this a reality with its “Google driver-less car”. Engineer Sebastian Thrum; the director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence laboratory as well as the co-inventor of Google street view is behind in this innovative product. Google driver-less car is same as any car but,
- It can steer itself when it seems to be an obstruction
- It can accelerate itself to the correct speed
- It can stop and go itself according to the situation of the traffic
It takes passengers anywhere they want at any time safely and comfortably which a normal car cannot do.
- How it works
This unbelievable technology consist of some components which induce us to think it works by magic.
- Google maps
This interacts with GPS and act like a data base. Google maps provides the car with road information like speed limits, upcoming intersections, traffic reports etc.
- Hardware Sensors
This provides the car with real time environment properties as the environment is dynamic. It is interesting to know the set of components and its behavior.
- Lidar: known as the heart of the system and behave as an optical remote sensing technology to measure the distance.
- Video Camera : enable to detecting upcoming traffic light
- Distance Camera: allow the car to “see” far enough to disclose upcoming cars and obstructions.
- Position Estimator: keep tracking with the movements of the vehicle and determine its location.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Google maps and the hardware sensors data are finally sent to the AI and AI determines how fast to accelerate, when to stop or slow and how steer the wheel. Simply AI provides car to make real time decisions.
- Benefits that we can obtain
Statistics state that vehicle crashes become a leading cause of death for aged 4-34 in America. In there in 2010 out of 6 million crashes, 93% are attributable to human errors. So this driver-less car would be the best solution for the reduction of car accidents while efficiently using highways.
This open up new possibilities for not just people who are legally eligible to drive, but also for younger people, older people and who are disable. For them Google driver-less car promises greater safety, freedom and also control over them.
Now a days demographics are changing and as a result of that attitudes towards driving are changed. Today’s younger generation is not so lobe with cars. Instead of that they love games and smart phones. Some see driving is a distraction from texting. For them, Google driver-less car can be a better alternative.
This technology can be applied for various industries like taxis for better experience for transportation.
By use of the sensors this will help to effective and efficient parking. Sensors measure the available parking space and determine if there is sufficient space. Then the execution part will take place through steering itself into the space.
The major challenge is the cost that would cost around US $300,000 that ultimately mark as a high price for sale. More cars on the road may create environmental issues and at the same time this may impact on public transport industry.
Due to the advance technology used, it may create maintenance issues.
As to other things, privacy issues may arise because hackers are waiting to hack the system and on the other hand Google is watching you.
As a result of low or no involvement of passengers for drive the vehicle, they can be intoxicated. In addition to that social issues will create on the criteria of the driver because no age limit or no need of driving licenses are required to use the Google driver-less car.
- Will people adopt to Google car?
The big problem is to win the trust of the people to allow a computer to drive and control the vehicle on behalf of them. The product will not be accepted sudden, but overtime as the systems become widely use and as people familiar with that they realize the benefit of it. Implementation of autonomous vehicles like Google driver-less car, will bring up the problem of replacing human with computers that can do the work for them.
However Google have tested this innovative product in many times in places like golden gate bridge and pacific coast highway. Still they didn’t release it to the market. Vehicles could be ready for market in as little as 3 to 5 years. Let’s see how it’s going to change the behavior of the consumers and their daily life.
By; Shehan Shanaka