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St. Bede's Catholic College

ST Bede's

Catholic College

Self-Driving Vehicles. Are you fond or frightened?

The self-driving vehicle industry has been booming in the recent months, with the likes of Tesla’s latest unveiling of their autonomous trucks and supercars using “Autopilot”, and the less extravagant Mercedes auto cruise control systems. With machine learning technology developing at a rate nobody can comprehend, this also means the same for autonomous cars, trucks, boats etc..

The technology going on in the background that nobody sees is incredibly complex. It comprises of multiple cameras, radars, ultrasonic sensors and much more. Then, with a 360° map of the car, and other vehicles relative to its position, it can manoeuvre the car in and out of the traffic, whilst registering traffic lights, objects and other means of needing the car to stop.

Self-driving cars are said to be much safer than human drivers, as they render problems and do appropriate actions virtually in an instant. However, until these ambitious statements are proven, unlike videos of the manager at Volvo being run over by his own self driving car after failing to apply its breaks, it doesn’t look like everybody is convinced. Despite this, numerous videos have been uploaded to social media such as YouTube of dashcam footage when their car saves them from a costly, and sometimes fatal accident.

But the real question on everybody’s mind is.. Would you be prepared to read a book and trust your car to drive, or better still, to take a nap? Leaving you no control over what your car is about to do. The feeling of an autonomous car is very strange, unlike anything any driver is used to. The concept completely drains the power you have over your car, leaving you crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.

Some manufacturers have already begun not fitting steering wheels in their concepts, such as Google’s child company, Waymo. The race has officially begun for companies to develop their systems for autonomous driving, and there sure is a lot. Even small startups, who have only come into the automotive industry to create self-driving vehicles have started to pop up.

 

Luke

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