Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are both crucial in the development of self-driving cars. People desire a fun and reliable car that guarantees to get them from Point A to Point B. Because self-driving cars are the future, companies such as Google and Tesla are putting extensive research to make their cars drivable, but more importantly safe. Machine learning algorithms can accurately calculate the distance between cars, curbs, and lines on the road.
Why have self-driving cars? Who drives them? How does this benefit the future? Self-driving cars can make lives a whole lot easier. The target for these cars is the blind, disabled, and the elderly; the target does not necessarily have to have health conditions. Long distance truck drivers, for example, can benefit from self-driving cars. All of these ties in benefits to the future and the safety of people to come.
There are people with health conditions which makes it difficult to travel from one place to another. By having health conditions, drivers can harm themselves and the people around them. One example is from the first person to test Google’s self-driving car. He is an elderly blind man who has trouble getting groceries. “A blind man became the first person chosen to give Google’s self-driving car a test ride after the federal government redefined what it means to be a driver” (Bloom). After being diagnosed with blindness, Steve Mahan became the first driver in Google’s self-driving car. The federal government has passed a law to let self-driving cars operate in the State of California. He used this opportunity to get groceries and says “It’s like riding with a fabulous driver.” This is but one example why self-driving cars are the future.
Another reason is made by Elon Musk’s self-driving electric truck. This truck has the opportunity to save companies tons of money as well as making sure the environment stays protected from harmful gases emitted by diesel trucks. “The truck can gain 400 miles or range with just a 30-minute charge from a ‘megacharger,’ and its operating cost per mile is 20 percent below that of conventional diesel semi-trucks (Musk). On top of that, with Tesla’s advanced sensor coverage, trucks can drive without a driver behind the wheel. “Eight surround cameras provide 360 degrees of visibility around the car at up to 250 meters of range. Twelve updated ultrasonic sensors complement this vision, allowing for detection of both hard and soft objects at nearly twice the distance of the prior system. A forward-facing radar with enhanced processing provides additional data about the world on a redundant wavelength that is able to see through heavy rain, fog, dust, and even the car ahead” (Tesla). This can mitigate the dangers of long-term driving. Truck drivers have to make sure their delivery makes it before a certain time. By having time constraints, it can be very dangerous for a driver to continuously operate without taking breaks. With this technology, the driver can operate the vehicle hands-free and still make it to the destination on time. Self-driving cars can sense the lines on the road and continue to follow the path until the desired destination is reached. This is just another benefit to self-driving cars.
With all that is said, it seems to be appropriate to say implementation of artificial intelligence and machine learning can and will be seen in the near future. Car manufacturers are already trying to be ahead of the curve and are producing their self-driving cars before competition arises. Will there be a day people stop taking over the wheel? What will happen if AI takes over jobs? Should Pop Up head lights come back?
Bloom, J. (2016, February 11). Blind man chosen as first person to test Google’s driverless car. Retrieved from http://abc7news.com/technology/blind-man-chosen-as-first-person-to-test-googles-driverless-car/1195770/
Tesla. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.tesla.com/autopilot