How Driverless Cars Will Work


Driverless Cars to Come
Urban Light Transport is a revolutionary driverless taxicab. It's yet to be seen whether the masses will place trust in driverless cars.
Urban Light Transport is a revolutionary driverless taxicab. It's yet to be seen whether the masses will place trust in driverless cars.
ATS Ltd/BWP Media/Getty Images

Google is not the only game in town when it comes to semi-autonomous cars. There are several in the pipeline for the next decade or so:

  • The 2014 BMW X5 with the Traffic Jam system can already mostly drive itself up to 25 miles per hour (40.2 kilometers per hour), though the driver still needs to keep a guiding hand on the wheel.
  • Tesla says it will have a car that operates on autopilot 90 percent of the time, which is similar to Google's Chauffeur, by 2016 -- if these two systems are legal by then, that is.
  • Mercedes-Benz brought its self-driving S500 Intelligent Drive car to the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2013, promising to have a version on the market in 2020.
  • An Audi A6 Avant at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show used the Mobileye system to drive itself at speeds up to 37 miles per hour (59.6 kilometers per hour). It should reach showrooms by 2020.
  • Nissan has outfitted an all-electric LEAF with an array of lasers and sensors so it can drive itself. The head of Nissan, Carlos Ghosn, predicts it will be the first semiautonomous car to market -- in 2020.

Author's Note: How Driverless Cars Will Work

This is the kind of article that feels like the information and technology are moving faster than my fingers can type. Even though I'm on top of automotive technology -- or I fancy myself to be, anyway -- I was surprised to learn that a BMW available about five minutes from now already drives itself at low speeds. Granted, it can't fly solo, but it's close. The fact that the competition is so seemingly fierce already made me wonder why we care about self-driving cars. I came to the conclusion that it's not because we're too lazy to drive the things ourselves; it's because we're too busy. There are a million things we'd rather be doing than driving a car, like watching a movie. Or taking pictures of the landscape as we pass. Or sleeping. Or calling our moms. Driving isn't the key to freedom that it used to be. Bandwidth is.

Related Articles

Sources

  • Ashley, Steven. "Smart Cars and Automated Highways." Mechanical Engineering Magazine. May 1998. (Oct. 2, 2013) http://www.memagazine.org/backissues/membersonly/may98/features/smarter/smarter.html
  • Carroll, Rory. "Tesla enters race to build self-driving car." Reuters. Sept. 17, 2013. (Oct. 2, 2013) http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/18/us-tesla-selfdriving-idUSBRE98H01720130918
  • Consumer Reports News. "BMW Traffic Jam Assistant puts self-driving car closer than you think." Yahoo! Autos. June 11, 2013. (Oct. 2, 2013) http://autos.yahoo.com/news/bmw-traffic-jam-assistant-puts-self-driving-car-200016961.html
  • Del-Colle, Andrew. "The 12 Most Important Questions About Self-Driving Cars." Popular Mechanics. (Oct. 8, 2013) http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/news/industry/the-12-most-important-questions-about-self-driving-cars-16016418
  • Fischer, Adam. "Inside Google's Quest to Popularize Self-Driving Cars." Popular Science. Sept. 19, 2013. (Oct. 2, 2013) http://www.popsci.com/cars/article/2013-09/google-self-driving-car
  • Greene, Kate. "Stanford's New Driverless Car." Technology Review. June 15, 2007. (Oct. 2, 2013) http://www.technologyreview.com/news/408059/stanfords-new-driverless-car/
  • Guizzo, Erico. "How Google's Self-Driving Car Works." IEEE Spectrum. Oct. 18, 2011. (Oct. 6, 2013) http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/artificial-intelligence/how-google-self-driving-car-works
  • Healey, James R. and Mays, Kelsey. "Which cars park themselves best? Challenge results." USA Today. Dec. 6, 2012. (Oct. 8, 2013) http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2012/12/06/self-parking-cars-challenge/1743199/
  • Howard, Bill. "Frankfurt Auto Show: Mercedes shows off fully autonomous S-Class, production cars coming by 2020." ExtremeTech. Sept. 16, 2013. (Oct. 2, 2013) http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/166598-frankfurt-auto-show-mercedes-shows-off-fully-autonomous-s-class-production-cars-coming-by-2020
  • Innovative Transportation Technologies. "ParkShuttle." (Oct. 2, 2013) http://faculty.washington.edu/jbs/itrans/parkshuttle.htm
  • Krishner, Tom. "GM Researching Driverless Cars." MSNBC. Jan. 6, 2008. (Oct. 2, 2013) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22529906/
  • Markoff, John. "At High Speed, on the Road to a Driverless Future." The New York Times. May 27, 2013. (Oct. 2, 2013) http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/28/science/on-the-road-in-mobileyes-self-driving-car.html
  • New York Daily News. "Audi shows off self-driving, self-parking A6 Avant and RS7 Sportback." Jan. 28, 2013. (Oct. 2, 2013) http://www.nydailynews.com/autos/audi-shows-self-driving-cars-article-1.1249419
  • Squatriglia, Chuck. "GM Says Driverless Cars Could Be on the Road by 2018." Wired Magazine. Jan. 7, 2008. (Oct. 2, 2013) http://blog.wired.com/cars/2008/01/gm-says-driverl.html
  • Strauss, Eric. "CES 2008: A Driverless SUV Gives Tour of the Future." ABC News. (Oct. 2, 2013) http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/GadgetGuide/story?id=4101838
  • Taylor, Alex III. "Nissan goes big on self-driving cars." CNN Money. Sept. 4, 2013. (Oct. 2, 2013) http://money.cnn.com/2013/09/04/autos/nissan-360-irvine.fortune/index.html
  • Tierney, John. "In the Future, Smart People Will Let Their Cars Take Control." The New York Times. Dec. 4, 2007. (Oct. 2, 2013) http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/04/science/04tier.html
  • Trillan, Calvin. "Park, He Said." The New York Times. Jan. 26, 2007. (Oct. 2, 2013) http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/26/opinion/26trillin.html

More to Explore