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Self-driving cars; Will these change our lives for the better?
Perhaps on your last extended outing you may have felt the fear of having your mobile phone in the final 5% of battery life. And you might have thought, “How useless we humans are without technology”.
You can take comfort in the fact that human beings’ relationship with technology goes back a long way. So it is very likely that the first hominid who forgot his battle stick at home, when he went hunting, also felt very useless against the enemy without that futuristic breakthrough that was once an ergonomic and strong stick.
Today, we are witnessing the growth of all kinds of inventions. It’s overwhelming to live in the future. It’ s so exciting and fun. But we have also seen how our parents, who used to be quite wise when talking about streets and shortcuts, now they depend on GPS in order to get somewhere.
Where is the problem, then? Probably in that technology has allowed us to go one step further each time, with less understanding of what we do. This considerably increases our dependency.
So, perhaps we grant too many abilities to technological tools, thus avoiding the challenge of learning large amounts of knowledge. It is reasonable to think, therefore, that with the arrival of new autonomous technologies in the world of transport, we will also lose some of our confidence on the road. Although if we stick to the data, even today 90% of traffic accidents are still the result of human error. Perhaps it is time to take the plunge and make a serious commitment to the future.
This science fiction technology that is taking so much time and resources to finally achieve self-driving cars, is so complex and thorough. These are some of the key factors that must be considered: the speed of the vehicle, its behaviour and feedback with other cars, the entire longitude, latitudes and distances around it, and even its exact location, with the greatest possible accuracy, regarding the world. There must be no room for any kind of error, the functionality must be perfect.
These self-driving cars promise the unthinkable. The idea of the disappearance of traffic jams has even been raised, claiming that it is only a problem of lack of coordination between all the vehicles on the road. Although it is possible that there will be greater harmony due to the continuous contact between them, thus making it possible for congestion and accidents to be reduced, but we need to bear in mind the large number of vehicles that are currently blocking the road. So this sounds quite good but I’m afraid we will still have traffic jams even with self-driving cars.
What about parking? That was the part where we all suffered the most in our driving school practice test and now these self-driving cars promise to do it on their own. It doesn’t matter if you live in a tiny village in La Mancha or in the capital’s largest residential area, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find places to park. With this type of vehicle the problem would no longer be yours.Dear friend, self-driving cars are autonomous. You will be able to get out of it whenever you want and let it move on its own until it finds its own place in the shade. You get off at your destination and then it will take a little spin around the neighbourhood.
You’ re likely to get blown away by something at this point in the article. So now, you’ve put yourself into conspiracy mode, in the very essence of Black Mirror, and you’ve already noticed: “If my car constantly needs its satellites in real time in order for it to work… does that mean that a person will be able to know where I am at any time? The short answer is “yes”. The long one: “Yes, bro, it’s a little scary, so you can start trembling now”. We can put ourselves in the worst possible situation and say that this could be dangerous, as we will have no privacy or place to hide while on-board. Obviously, the big car companies are also prepared for the worst and are struggling to prevent this kind of invasion of privacy, but your data will still be there. Unless, of course, you choose to live the simple life of the Amish society.
In any case, and although the project of Level 5 vehicles on the European scale of autonomy (in which the driver is no longer needed) is getting closer and closer, there are still certain obstacles to overcome before this scenario becomes a reality. Technology already makes it possible to manufacture these self-driving cars, such as the new Audi A8, which is already a Level 3 car, but it is impossible to use because the legislation doesn’t allow it, and we are not anywhere near having definitive laws for this unknown situation. Of course, you also have to think of all the necessary elements, both on the road and in the vehicles themselves, so that they can operate properly. We are talking about ultrasound sensors, radars, cameras, 5G telephony, high-definition mapping, automated electric engines, powerful processors… Besides the immense network of computer resources that would be necessary for the connectivity and security of all the vehicles on the road.
There is still a long way to go, but with this pace, which is getting faster and faster, we will get there soon. By the way:
If you want to dig deeper into this world of science fiction in the purest Minority Report style, you might want to take a look at The Dangers of Artificial Stupidity, or you might want to continue your research on autonomy and monitoring in the article If fetal monitoring is a real thing, then why don’t you monitor your business?
Don’t forget to leave a comment in the comment section. Do you think self-driving cars will change our lives for the better? Let us know down below! We are looking forward to hearing from you.