Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cars That Drive Themselves Coming Soon

No this is not a science fiction movie, or some MIT college project. BMWGoogle and GM, in partnership with the Shanghai Automotive Industry Association and Segway, as well as some other major car companies are all testing models in prototype that could be the fore-bearers of autonomous vehicles . GM may even be slated to release their Chevy model the En-V in the Chinese city of Tianjin Eco-City, currently under development and expected to be completed by 2020. With the near collapse of GM, prompting a government takeover, the company is now shifting directions towards more green 21st century style vehicles. According to Larry Burns, VP of Research and Development at GM, “We were the S.U.V. company, and we accept that. We want to become the U.S.V. company — known for ultra-small vehicles.” Burns' statements are in response to the size of of the En-V, but with the release of the Volt and development of the En-V this displays a marked departure from the gas guzzling SUVs  of the American car-maker. Likewise, The German manufacturer is jumping into the game. As always the car company is putting their famed German engineering to the forefront, "BMW's self-autonomous system uses four types of sensors, radar, cameras, laser scanners and ultrasound distance sensors and can even change lanes to zoom past a slowpoke car." Unlike BMW, Google is "using artificial-intelligence software that can sense anything near the car and mimic the decisions made by a human driver."

Many of the articles I have read show these companies using differing technologies, and sizes of vehicles all the way from the tiny segway like En-V to a Sedan sized BMW. They all seem to have a few things in common, however. Most of them share information between other cars, speed, location, etc; this enables the cars from crashing into one another. Likely these vehicles will also communicate with traffic lights, and other driving related infrastructure in the future as well. Safety and convenience also seem to be highlights of these automobiles. Self-driving automobiles may usher in a new era without driving accidents, DUI and DWI related driving fatalities, and less tickets for their owners. That long walk to the car or being late picking up the kids from school because you had to work late may also become a thing of the past, as cars wouldn't even need a driver present in the vehicle just call them up and they pull up right in front of you ready to take you anywhere you want to go.

Cars That Drive Themselves Coming Soon

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