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Autonomous Vehicles

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 4.50.52 p.m.

Google autonomous vehicle

Autonomous vehicles are cars with such advanced technology that the owner doesn’t need to drive them anymore! Driverless technology is already in use by BMW, Mercedes, Lexus and Audi. These brands are using technology based on GPS, radar, lidar, computer vision and odometry that enables the car to sense its surroundings, so it can park by itself, indicate the best navigation routes and be aware of possible obstacles and relevant signage.

An increase in the use of autonomous cars can bring some benefits, especially in safety and security, such as:

  • Avoiding traffic collisions – nearly 1.3 million people die in road collisions each year, on average 3,287 deaths a day, according to the Association for Safe International Road Travel;
  • Reduction in car theft – due to the vehicle’s increased awareness;
  • Abolition of unnecessary passengers – the autonomous car could drive unoccupied to wherever it is required, such as to pick up passengers or to go in for maintenance;
  • Better management of the traffic flow;
  • Relief of vehicle occupants from driving and navigation inconveniences.

However people debate if the above stated pros are actually reliable since there can be:

  • Software reliability issues;
  • A car’s computer could be hacked, as could a communication system between cars;
  • Potentially extinction of driving related jobs; – Uber Auto perhaps?

Autonomous tech is also enjoying heavy investment around the world, especially in the UK. The UK has a proud history of automotive innovation with significant research centers and R&D investment of £1.7 billion in 2013. Last month, the government announced new laws for testing driverless vehicles on UK roads in Bristol, Coventry, Greenwich and Milton Keynes and, with them, an unprecedented £20 million investment into the technology.

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