[tabi] FW: More on self-driving cars

  • From: "Chip Orange" <Corange@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 17 Aug 2012 17:53:22 -0400



From: Allison Orange 
Sent: Thursday, August 16, 2012 5:22 PM
Subject: More on self-driving cars


Self-Driving Cars Available by 2019, Report Says

By Josh Sanburn <http://business.time.com/author/jsanburn/>  |
@joshsanburn <http://www.twitter.com/joshsanburn>  | August 16, 2012 



Michael Sohn / AP

A self-driving car made by Autonomos Labs makes its way through Berlin,

Forget flying cars. The next innovation will be vehicles you don't even
have to drive. But would we actually put our lives in the hands of a
computer-controlled car?

Earlier this month KPMG and the Center for Automotive Research released
a report
ents/self-driving-cars-next-revolution.pdf>  not only predicting that
we'll eventually be driving - or, rather, not driving - autonomous cars,
but that they'll be in showrooms as early as 2019. Maybe even sooner.

"In the early decades of the 21st century, the industry appears to be on
the cusp of revolutionary change," the report's authors write. "The
revolution, when it comes, will be engendered by the advent of
autonomous or 'self-driving' vehicles. And the timing may be sooner than
you think."

The industry has been experimenting with self-driving elements for
years. In fact, the tinkering has been going on since the 1950s and
General Motors' Firebird II
s/1956_GM_Firebird_II/1956%20Firebird%20II-12-13.html> , which was
designed to be guided along the highway by an electrical wire embedded
in the road.

But a number of cars today have computers and sensors handling more and
more basic driving functions while increasing safety. Think of vehicles
that parallel park themselves
<http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2006/09/ls_460_parking.html>  or
ones that actively avoid collisions
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LyAMpfiwao> . And Google employees have
driven some 200,000 miles in the company's experimental self-driving

So it's only a matter of time before some of these technologies are
combined in a way to create a truly driverless vehicle. Most industry
analysts think that time is at least a decade in the future. The latest
report is the first to predict that it's only a handful of years away.

Even so, it's no sure thing that this prediction will come true. The
technology will need to get smarter before 2019. The report's authors
explain that "sensor-based technologies" and "connected-vehicle
communications" need to converge. Essentially, cars need to be able to
communicate with other vehicles on the road so they don't bash into each
other. They also need the ability to sense and respond to the
surrounding infrastructure: stop signs, street lights, guardrails, and
many other basic transportation signals.

Tom Baloga, U.S. vice president of engineering at BMW - another
automaker that's been testing driverless features - told Reuters
cars-could-hit-showrooms-by-2019-20120815,0,7617197.story> : "The days
of George Jetson getting in the vehicle, saying 'to the office' and then
reading a newspaper, we don't envision for an awful long time."

Theoretically, those technological obstacles seem surmountable. Most of
the big name automakers - Toyota, Nissan, Volvo, Honda, Hyundai and
others - have been experimenting with self-driving elements for years.
The real question is whether we would even drive these things.

"The socialization of autonomous driving is actually the difficult
part," John Hanson, Toyota's national manager for environmental, safety
and quality issues, told Reuters. "The invention of the vehicle is the
easy part."

But sentiment in favor of self-driving cars is growing. According to a
J.D. Power study
rested-in-autonomous-driving-technology-study.html> , 37% of U.S.
vehicle owners are at least interested in autonomous cars, although only
20% of respondents said they "definitely would" or "probably would"
purchase self-driving features in their car if it added $3,000 to the
sticker price.

As we get used to more and more technology in every aspect of our lives,
our attitudes toward self-driving vehicles will likely become more and
more accepting. If we can't have flying cars, we might as well be able
to be able to play with out tablet computers while we get driven home
from work.

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  • » [tabi] FW: More on self-driving cars - Chip Orange