A ride in a self-driving car

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A ride in a self-driving car

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Waiting in traffic and commuting is a pain. But what if one could text and read a book at the same time and not even look at the road. This could be a possible future for next-gen kids because of Google’s interest in cars that can self-drive. These google- self driving cars look like Volkswagen beetles with old fashioned cop car siren on top. This shape allows for sensors to work better. These cars are supposed to be able to detect vehicles from two football fields away accomplished using a combination of 3-D laser mapping, sonar, radar sensors and cameras. The car is run on electricity which saves green house gases. According to ensio.com 50 percent of all greenhouse gases emitted from the transportation sector could be cut down because of self-driving cars. 

Google_self_driving_car_at_the_Googleplex

Creative Commons. Michael Shick.

Google is right now self-driving with a steering wheel on the streets but drivers are instructed to only use the steering wheel only in terms of emergency. The reason Google is doing this is because they are eventually pushing for all cars to be without steering wheels. This push would leave the driver to the mercy of the car. According to forbes, Google insists that these cars will be on the road in five years. This new car is still under consideration by the California government which states that cars should have a steering wheel in case drivers need to suddenly take control of the car. 

Ninety-four percent of all crashes in the U.S. involve human error; therefore self-driving cars would reduce this drastically. But most of all, this tech would help the elderly or the disabled or even students who have not received their driver’s license yet. Even though this idea sounds amazing, or at least to me it does, it is far from perfect and is actually not done. This is because of issues like fender-benders, parking lots and eighteen-wheelers.  

Take a fender-bender for example, the human is not to blame with the established traffic rules because those only apply to regular cars. Also the car is not to blame because it is an inanimate object. My opinion about this is that both drivers should have to pay the company for damage because they choose to buy the car. 

Another interesting factor is parking lots. In a parking lot, the car would not know which slot to pick unless the driver picked it for them. Perhaps it would scan the parking lot first, then ask the driver where to park. Even then, what if there are regular cars parked too close to one side. Would the car park anyway and leave the driver possibly trapped inside. The car would also need to be intelligent enough to sense pedestrians walking around the parking lots.

Next, eighteen wheelers: would eighteen-wheelers and sixteen wheelers also be self-driving. In that case we have to consider that these vehicles make large turns and the other self-driving cars would have to be intelligent enough to communicate and make sure that the cars and the truck don’t crash.

And finally, do people require training to drive these cars. And if they did, how many months or years would it take to implement such training. And if there is no training, does this mean that kids as young as twelve can drive cars. This raises other interesting questions. 

But one of the most dangerous consequences is security. What if someone is able to hack into the google server and mess with the cars’ navigational systems and sensors. This could result in crashes and seem eerily apocalyptic.

Google still has these problems to fix but, I, for one, am excited for this new development.

 

 

 

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