SELF DRIVEN CARS :
The whole concept of a car being able to drive itself is pretty profound,” said Larry Burns, GM’s former research and development chief and an adviser for Google’s self-driving car project. “This is the most transformational play to hit the auto industry in 125 years.”
The progress has been in the making for decades as GM’s Firebird II, introduced in 1956, included a system to work with an electrical wire embedded in the highway to guide the car. Three years later, the rocket-like Cyclone boasted an autopilot system that steered the car and radar in front nose cones that warned of a collision and automatically applied the brakes.
However, the pace of invention has quickened, with such automakers as GM, Ford Motor Co, Toyota Motor Corp and Volkswagen AG developing technologies to help drivers avoid accidents. Some even envision a future where today’s cars are more amusement
Google launched its autonomous car program in 2010, viewing the problem as one of computer science. It has tested its modified Toyota Prius and Lexus RX 450h cars over more than 300,000 miles and is talking with almost every automaker about its technology.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt said the company has not figured out how it would bring its technology to market, but licensing it is an option. “Self-driving cars should in our lifetime become the predominant way.
Last year, one of Google’s self-driving cars was involved in a minor accident, but supporting the idea that robots would be better drivers it occurred when the car was under human control. The self-driving mode has yet to be in a fender bender.
Bob Casey, the curator of transportation at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, regarded the self-guiding driving system of GM’s Firebird II concept car of more than 50 years ago “almost as a parlor trick,” but he said the technology now brings such cars closer to reality. The question is whether the auto industry is ready for that.
“Part of the fundamental attraction of automobiles has been the actual driving of them,” he said. “If you do away with that, then it really becomes an appliance … a toaster, a washing machine.”
And as for those sceptics who think that driverless cars are too anodyne to appeal to most motorists, there is the uncomfortable fact that, at least in the industrialised world, the car has peaked. We’re driving less, year on year. Gridlock drains the romance from driving. And young people are not lusting to own cars like they used to in the era portrayed in the film American Graffiti. All that remains is for us to file a Sorn (Statutory Off Road Notification) for Jeremy Clarkson and we’re done.
WELL NOW THAT IS PROGRESS ……..
IMAGINE YOU JUST HAVE TO SAY …..
DRIVE IN THEATRE …….
AND WITHIN 20 MINUTES YOU ARE PARKED IN YOUR FAVORITE
SPOT AT YOUR LOCAL OPEN AIR PICTURE SHOW…….
[youtube width=”840″ height=”473″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STXaUI67pyA[/youtube]