Saturday, November 9, 2013

Driverless Cars

Imagine that you hop in a car that can drive itself at the touch of a button. That futuristic experience would allow you to work, relax, admire the scenery or scan the Internet without paying attention to the road. Indeed, that prospect is about to come alive.

Since the 1930's, scientists have been working on that project. The Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is the mastermind that gives rise to the development of that technology. In 2007,  DARPA sponsored a contest  in which robotic cars had to complete a grueling 60-mile course through mock-urban territory in less than six hours. The Pentagon's objective is to make the US military vehicles autonomous in the near future. That could prove to be a lifesaving technology due to the fact most military casualties are caused by roadside bombs. Approximately 40,000 people die in car accidents every year in the US. With the autonomous cars, fatal car accidents will disappear. the cars will be equipped with the radar technology in their fenders that will sense the obstacles. traffic jams may gradually be gone because a central computer will be able to track all the motions of every car on the road by communicating with each driverless car.

The transition to intelligent cars will not happen immediately. First, the military will deploy these vehicles and in the process work out any kinks. Then robotic cars will enter the marketplace, appearing first on long, boring stretches of interstate highways. Next, they will appear in the suburbs and large cities, but the driver will always have the ability to override the computer in case of an emergency. Eventually, we will wonder how we could have lived without them.