Why self-driving cars are the future:
Self-driving cars are no longer just a cool stunt you see in YouTube videos – soon they’ll be available to the everyday consumers once they hit the global market.
The tech gurus in Silicon Valley have been developing self-driving cars for a while with Google leading the way.
As usual, Google has been challenging the status quo and developing new innovations that will shape what the future will look like.
They’ve been working on a prototype to make self-drive technology available to the masses that will change the automotive industry forever.
Why do self-driving cars matter?
Imagine having a visual impairment or a physical disability that either makes it difficult or impossible to drive; or even feeling completely healthy but deemed to old or incompetent to drive.
These people are forced to depend on family and friends or public transport to get to where they need to go. But with self-driving cars, these people will be able to gain back their independence and freedom.
Google has reported that their self-driving cars would be safer as well – as 94% of car accidents in America are due to human error.
The cars will also save time making your way to work. You can do your make up or catch up on the day’s news while your car focuses on the commute for you. Neat!
With smooth handling and a cute as a button design, feedback from the public who were lucky enough to take the cars for a spin has been incredibly positive so far.
How do self-driving cars work?
The cars have sensors that can detect objects near the car in all directions, including other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
The vehicles also use GPS and map information to determine where it is, which lane it needs to be in and where it needs to go.
How do self-driving cars handle traffic lights and weather conditions?
Although Google has claimed the autonomous cars can drive anywhere a car can legally drive, there are still some limitations.
The driver-less cars cannot drive in snow or heavy rains, and navigating an intersection may be a little too complex for the self-driving cars as of yet.
However, bare in mind these cars are still in the prototype phase and have a lot of fine-tuning to go.
As for traffic lights, the cars sensors help it to identify traffic lights and what course of action to take depending on the color of the light.
Those working on autonomous vehicles have said that stop signs and traffic lights will no longer be needed with self-driving cars, as the vehicles will have the ability to navigate intersections with ease.
It’s an exciting time for the self-drive cars as its not just Google who have been developing the new technology. Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Telsa have all jumped on board and are developing their own versions too. Progress is being made all around the country with lawmakers changing things up to appeal to automakers.
Where are self-driving cars being developed and tested?
Virginia funded the Center for Automated Vehicle Systems at Virginia Tech University to kick things off, and has also set aside 70 miles of roads to test self-driving cars.
Not to be outdone, Michigan opened up 32-acres of testing ground for self-driving cars and funded a $6 million mock suburb for testing. The testing ground will also receive a further $4 million in private funding.
Florida has passed legislation to simplify the requirements for self-driving technology testing, with California, Michigan and Nevada doing the same. Florida is also building a mock suburb for testing.
California carmakers can test self-driving cars with a permit. Google, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla and Nissan have been granted testing permits, along with a few other companies.
While there’s still some tweaks to be made, self-driving cars will provide the opportunity for more people to gain their independence and freedom and will also help to make our roads safer. Self-driving cars will soon be the way of the future – so watch this space!
What’s next, self-driving cargo?!
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