If you are following the driverless car developments, you’ll be interested in the following event that took place yesterday:
Congressman takes ride in a driverless car in Pennsylvania Kevin Begos, Associated Press Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2013, 1:08 AM PITTSBURGH -A Pennsylvania congressman caught a cutting-edge ride to the airport on Wednesday.
Representative Bill Shuster (R., Altoona) made a 33-mile trip from Cranberry Township to Pittsburgh International Airport in a computer-operated car.
The so-called driverless Cadillac SRX was designed by Carnegie Mellon University researchers who have been working on the project since 2008. The car uses inputs from radars, laser range finders, and infrared cameras to maneuver in traffic.
Shuster is the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He was accompanied by Barry Schoch, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department
of Transportation.Shuster saw a Carnegie Mellon test vehicle about five years ago, and said it was crammed so full of equipment that there wasn't even room for a person inside. Now, the 2011 Cadillac is basically a standard model with all the sensors and electronics discreetly hidden. It didn't look out of place on the drive to the airport, which began in a suburban area with stop-and-go traffic and then reached speeds of about 65 m.p.h. on a major highway. A Carnegie
Mellon engineer was in the driver's seat as a safety precaution.Shuster said he can now imagine a future where such vehicles enter the mainstream, potentially reducing accidents, fatalities and congestion on roads.
But there's also a military angle."It's going to be great for our military to be able to send vehicles into combat without people in them," Shuster said.
The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency began holding competitions for driverless vehicles in 2004, and a Carnegie Mellon team won the 2007 race, along with a $2 million prize. Raj Rajkumar, the leader of the Carnegie Mellon project, said the biggest design challenge for driverless vehicles
is managing unpredictable events."It takes a long time to be taught all the things we know" about driving, Rajkumar said of the software.
Rajkumar thinks some driverless cars may reach the marketplace by 2020, though some experts say it will take longer. General Motors, Nissan, and Google
are all working on projects, as are other universities. This article can be found online at:http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20130905_Congressman_takes_ride_in_a_driverless_car_in_Pa_.html
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