Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Self-driving cars may sound like something you would expect to see in a futuristic sci-fi flick but the fact is that they are already in existence.  Google currently owns a fleet of self-driving vehicles which have been spotted driving around Silicon Valley. The state of California has also just approved the use of self-driving cars on the road.



Self Driving Cars Mean Less Accidents
Most accidents are caused by driver error which may include speeding, a disregard of traffic signals or distracted driving. This is less likely to occur with self-driving cars since these use a computer that can determine if there is another vehicle ahead or in the driver’s blind spot. It has the ability to brake and can even prevent the vehicle from entering a dangerous zone.   However, it doesn’t mean that the driver can simply take a nap or use his or her laptop even though the car is autonomous. The driver is still required to be alert and pay attention at all times.

Volvo Is Testing Self-Driving Cars
Volvo is an auto maker that is well known for its thorough safety features. The company is currently testing out self-driving car technology in Spain. Volvo’s system utilizes sensors and radars in order to detect other vehicles, objects and pedestrians.  The company is very familiar with radar and sensor technology; Volvo’s pedestrian detection technology also uses radar and sensor technology.

Autonomous Cars May Be More Efficient
Most drivers don’t have the patience to drive as efficiently as possibly. The phenomenon, also known as “hypermiling” may include anticipating the flow of traffic, driving at a consistent space and avoiding accelerating. Autos with autonomous technology can be programmed to drive as efficiently as possible and may be more environmentally friendly.

Potential Issues With Autonomous Cars
Some consumers are concerned with privacy concerns in regards to data collection by Google when it comes to vehicles utilizing the search engine’s technology. Advocates feel that clear cut rules should be passed that would limit the amount and type of data collected. Another concern is that of hacking. Since vehicles will be controlled by computers, there is a possibility that a hacker can infiltrate the vehicle’s security system and override all manual commands. Liability is another issue that will need to be addressed. Will the driver be responsible for accidents even though the car is autonomous?

It’s clear that a lot of issues will need to be addressed when it comes to autonomous cars. However, the days of roads filled with self-driving cars isn’t too far off. It will be interesting to see what’s in store when it comes to future automotive technology.



About the Author:
Written by Jena Strass - It will be a few more years before autonomous vehicles will be available on a large scale basis. In the meantime, efficient cars can be found at dealers such as Ford Dealer Dallas. Many of Ford's cars achieve near 40 mpg with an enhanced super fuel efficiency package.


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