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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Driving Technology: Self Driving Cars

Automobiles have come a long way since their introduction to the general public in 1908 with the creation of the Model T by Henry Ford. Since that first car went mainstream, the roads we now drive have become increasingly congested, with millions of cars driving at any given time in the US alone. With the invention of any new technology comes upgrades and motor vehicles have surely needed all they can get. As cars begin to move faster and more are around the chance of fatal accidents rises exponentially. Over the years new inventions such as the always wonderful seat belt and the explosive airbag have helped keep us sacks of meat alive but it is never enough as the one condition of an accident, us, can not easily be removed from the equation. That is until now of course with what some may call the greatest invention of the 21st century, Self Driving Cars, the stuff straight out of those old SciFi novels that put us all to sleep at night. 

The idea of a vehicle that can drive itself without the need for a human has been around for quite some time but only recently has the technology become available to bring such a dream to our realm of reality. Faster and cheaper computers, better sensor systems, and satellites have certainly helped greatly and now companies such as Google are busy developing systems that will eventually be used to keep us from killing ourselves. While cars that can completely drive on their own are some ways off we can already see its predecessors in certain vehicles from auto makers such as Ford who now include self parking options in some models. Rather than fully automating the driving process, these cars use distance sensors and cameras to do difficult parking maneuvers such as the dreadful parallel parking. The systems that run this wonderful tech are much simpler than what will be incorporated in the future self driving models but are also a key part of the process. 

Just imagine what life will be like just a few years down the road. No longer will you have to drive long tedious hours between destinations such as work and home. No longer must you deal with those aggressive drivers. No longer will you aggressive drivers have to deal with those people who can't drive to save their lives. Driving will be a much simpler experience and far more efficient. I can easily see the end of annoying traffic lights and stop signs as your car will be able to figure out exactly how fast to travel to merge safely onto other roads which will surely help cut down on fuel use as well. Not having to stop for lights and not needing to take a break from driving will surely cut down on travel time and aggressive driving will cease to exist. The only true downsides to such technology would be a lack of freedom. People tend to view the automobile as the ultimate form of freedom, the ability to just fire up the engine and take off into the sunset, to go wherever you want whenever you want. Perhaps there will be an option to turn off automated driving if you prove yourself worthy but overall I would assume the preservation of life is a bit more important.

Let me know what you think about self driving cars. Are they worth it for the safety or do they impose on your freedoms to much to want one? Let me know in the comments section below and remember to share this here article with all your acquaintances and or friends and family. As always have a great week.


  1. Well, what can I say? It's true that with self-driving cars, life will be easier. Although it's still surprising that Google was the first one to come up with the idea.

  2. Life will indeed be much different with this technology. Do keep in mind though, sorry if this was my fault, but Google did not come up with the idea, they are just the ones publicly coming out with the most advancements.

  3. Volkswagen is the first car company to have released an autopilot car. I'm not sure though if these have been made available to the public market as of today. It would be cool if they have. =)

  4. I can't wait honestly. This technology is progressing quite nicely!