During the 20th century, in full development of the Aeronautics and motor vehicles, one of the recurring predictions of science fiction and the futurists was imagine the use of automatic and flying cars as a standard in the movements of people. However, in 2014, flying cars, although exist; face a multitude of problems that do not make them feasible or practical.
We understand autonomous vehicles cars that drive themselves or semi-automatically, without the intervention of a person at the time of travel between two points. By some estimates, as the company Nissan in 2020 and these cars will be available in the domestic market. And for 2040, according to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), 75% of the cars will be self-employed, in particular, all dedicated to the carriage of goods by road.
Google, a pioneer
Manufacturers like Nissan, General Motors, Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, Volvo, Mercedes and Toyota are experimenting with different technologies for their proposals have lists of driverless vehicles. In the last edition of the fair of consumer electronics products CES in Las Vegas, and showed off a new BMW prototype autonomous car that uses technology and equipment more compact than previous versions. Until now, this type of machinery occupied vehicles modified with various devices and sensors, the trunk and the top of the car. BMW’s proposal reduces the footprint and weight.
Despite thoughts like this, the race to offer a car of this type is driven by an external company sector such as Google, the first company to introduce a commercially viable project in the medium term/
The benefits of driverless vehicles are, from the point of view of domestic users, improving road safety, where the majority of accidents are caused by driver error, and reducing energy consumption since autonomous cars do not do any aggressive driving, as they do many drivers.
However, these vehicles also opens the door to development of new professional services, such as taxis or trucks without drivers, in order to allow users or goods between locations more efficiently and safely. In this sense last summer, Google, through its venture capital firm, invested $ 258 million in Uber, private taxi service that operates in several cities worldwide. The finder would bet that part of these taxis were autonomous.
Legislation, slower than the technology
Among the challenges that arise are related to the different levels of automation and security/ I mean, know what happens when the vehicle is just and what security mechanisms, such as automatic braking, are launched if required. Logically, the impact of an error in these systems can have dramatic dimensions.
Other important aspects are the software security flaws that could cause a crash or even allow an offender to take control of the car at a distance. Also concerned about other issues such as liability in case of accident (i.e. define whether this is on the owner of the car or on the manufacturer), facing mandatory liability insurance.
In addition, at the political level also concerned about the possible loss of jobs for professional drivers that could produce this technological change, as might occur in the taxi industry or the long-haul.
In the United States, where companies like Google are doing their tests on conventional roads and in real traffic situations, manufacturers have lobbied the government to allow legislative changes in states like Nevada, Michigan, California and Florida, so you can use these types of cars/ These laws allow autonomous vehicles to use, as long as a person is located in the driver’s seat to take control of the car in case of emergency.
But this is not the first time Google press U.S. officials to curb some restrictions on its technological advances. Recently, the search engine has tried in some states are allowed to drive with Google Glass on. The main constraint in this regard is the prohibition on headphones in a vehicle, which is necessary in order to use Google smart glasses.
Driverless cars, a future closer
If you are a fan of the genre of science fiction, you’ve probably seen in a movie or a documentary on science models of driverless cars. The good news is that the future is getting closer. Driverless cars are those that have the ability to move a driver could be deactivated. The idea is to emulate the operation of a car as does a plane on autopilot mode, so it does not require of someone to handle, at least not physically.
Experts say that in terms of road safety, these cars are safer compared to conventional cars, because the machines have better reflexes than humans. Moreover it is less permeable objects to any variable that “desconcentre” normally care of humans, significantly reducing the margin of accidents in other cases might occur.
Such cars have the advantage to move without bumping into another vehicle. This is made possible by two internal devices, a camera and a front laser that scans the road detecting obstacles that may arise.
The self-driving car by Google is also arousing great expectations, especially in recent months, following the dissemination of the results of various tests. However, the technology that allows cars to conduct alone would be ready in about three to five years, while the specific rules for these types of cars take a little longer, if we consider the adaptation of policies of insurance, the new regulations on road safety, among other examples.