October 13, 2013
SAVING US FROM OURSELVES:
Self-driving cars are no longer from the realm of science fiction (David Crossland, October 13, 2013, The National)
Posted by Orrin Judd at October 13, 2013 12:30 PMSelf-driving cars are no longer science fiction. Engineers and software developers around the world are already test-driving them, and although they still have some key problems to sort out, they work. The sensors, cameras and radar technology they are based on are already in use as standard features on cars, such as parking assistance and cruise control systems.The big challenge lies in the software programming of onboard computers that must enable the car to respond to any eventuality on the road.Daimler is among the leaders in developing self-driving technology. Its main rivals include Google, which is testing driverless cars fitted with its Google Chauffeur software in California and Nevada.Google has modified a number of models including the Toyota Prius, Lexus and Audi TT and they have clocked up more than 650,000 kilometres without accidents.This summer, Daimler successfully completed a 103km journey in a modified S-class limousine equipped with eight radar systems and three cameras.It mastered city traffic and busy roundabouts without "the driver" having to use the steering wheel, brake or accelerator."There were no dangerous situations," says Daimler board member Thomas Weber, the head of group research. "A lot of research work is still needed, but it showed us how extremely far we've come."