google self driving cars

Self Driving Cars

The Jetsons broadcast into American living rooms in 1962. The futuristic cartoon was based on how we all might be living in 2062. Flying cars, housecleaning robots and video calls…hmmm… looks like we’re right on track. Motor Trend listed the Buick as the best car of 1962, which came standard with an AM radio.  

Twenty years later Night Rider was created in 1982, by this point, cars had advanced to include AM/FM radios and tape players.  

Today our vehicles are essentially equal parts computer/machine. A voice command can start off verbal directions to anywhere, a beep tells us we’re too close to another car or object and can hit the breaks for us. We’re currently to some degree co-piloting with our cars. It makes absolute sense that the next level of auto-evolution would be self-driving cars which ironically rename the dash, the cockpit.

A recent Verge article asks and answers the question, where are the autonomous cars?  As it turns out, the technology is here, though the profit is not. Much like the manufacturing of fast cars has an extremely small American market due to the still remaining popularity of large vehicles, self-driving cars fall into the same category. They’re small.

The article continues to include a few urban locations where these cars are being tested on real streets in real traffic, more specifically for use of delivering products and people.

Google Lexus Self-Driving Car

Google Lexus Self-Driving Car

Either way, the race is still on to bring the car of the future into our driveways sooner than later. Tesla, General Motors, Ford, Toyota, and even Kia are all digging their mechanical and software engineering heels into the starting line. According to Market Watch, we’re ready and set, GO however is not expected to happen for another 15-20 years.

For many of us, that’s a crushed dream of anxiety-free parallel parking and nap to work wishes. For most, however, we’re psychologically not so sure about the idea. A report compiled by AAA in 2016 found that 75% of people are afraid of letting their car do the driving; although psychologists feel it will be a fairly easy fear to defeat. Somehow we all got over the Computerphobia of the 1980’s, we’ll likely do the same with our phobia about self-driving cars in the 2030’s. 

In the meantime, we can expect to see more and more cars with self-driving aspects such as self-steering and breaking. Phasing into trusting our car to do all the driving might just be the best way to go. 

Guest Blogger: Allison Green

 

 

Autonomous Vehicles Will Decrease Deaths on U.S. Roadways

Autonomous vehicles will significantly decrease deaths on American roadways because mainly human vision is about 30 meters forward whereas the LIDAR system that are sensors that Google utilizes in the Google car can actually see a whopping 300 meters ahead.  Unfortunately, according to studies, humans are the main reason for more than 99% of all car accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 38,000 Americans were killed on U.S. roads last year. Administrator, Mark Rosekind, from the NHTSA remarked, “That is unacceptable.”

Photo: Courtesy of Google

At the 2-day telematics conference in Detroit Rosekind’s comments to 3,000 representatives of automakers, technology companies, government agencies and insurers at the conference may be the latest signal that regulators aren’t expecting an accident-free future, just a reduction in the number of severe, deadly wrecks.

Autonomous vehicles will be mandatory and many regulations and standards must be put into place regarding the automotive industry, insurance and legal aspects that arise from accidents. http://goo.gl/TrNbSx

Speaking of accidents, a few weeks ago the first autonomous car crash killed a man when he was driving into fierce, bright sunlight and the software fatally failed and passed under a semi-truck. The car kept going after passing under the truck and crashed through 2 fences and into a light pole.  Tesla made a 537 word statement about the crash.

The first paragraph notes that this was Tesla’s first known autopilot death in some 130 million miles driven by its customers. “Among all vehicles in the US, there is a fatality every 94 million miles,” the company then notes.  It goes on to say that the car’s autonomous software is designed to nudge consumers to keep their hands on the wheels to make sure they’re paying attention. “Autopilot is getting better all the time, but it is not perfect and still requires the driver to remain alert,” the company said. See more on Tesla’s statement here:  https://goo.gl/YqDJo9

Other test drivers of the Tesla have noticed issues when driving into bright sunlight.  The gentleman, Joshua Brown, who was driving that fateful day was someone who supported Tesla and posted many videos regarding his autonomous driving experiences. https://youtu.be/5TjbqVartjM

“As collisions in the future will be dealing with the failure in the design, manufacture and maintenance of vehicles, we can expect that the insurance industry will look to product liability and/or service failure, whether hardware- or software-related, not driver error, as the primary means to manage the risk of collisions,” Michael Teitelbaum, a partner Hughes Amys LLP, told seminar attendees during a subsequent panel discussion. http://goo.gl/i04dsd

There will also be legal ramifications regarding accidents that must be worked out and the legal experts still have many questions to ultimately come up with solutions.  To learn more about the insurance and legal ramifications click here.