Driverless cars – brilliant idea or completely frightening? But if you look at the Google Car – which has logged over 700,000 road miles with only two accidents both of which involved missteps of a human driver – maybe it’s not such a bad idea. Joshua Schank of the Eno Center for Transportation is quoted here as saying “People are not great at driving – 30,000 people die in in car accidents each year (in the United States). Machines can be much better than humans when it comes to driving; they don’t drink or text and can think faster”.
So whether you’re for them, against them or still on the fence – I bet you’d love to know how they work. The short answer is software with several mighty assists from the hardware. Although different manufacturers have different designs and different features the following categories of equipment and capabilities are necessary for your car to drive you places:
What’s completely cool is that while the car is driving along, stopping at red lights, reacting to road signs and avoiding read ending the car ahead – it is also in the process, much like a human driver, of accessing the potential situations going on around it. It does this behavioral analysis process that collects data and compares current situations to its ever growing database of information it has learned from previous trips. Just like you may slow down when there are children playing on the sidewalk, the car also has the sense to anticipate a child may run into the street and slows the car down as well.
Pretty cool technology and its coming faster than you think!