The future is already here: self-driving cars

Posted by Ms. Gadget
Ms. Gadget
Megan Ellis is a New Media student and young journalist at Rhodes University.
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on Wednesday, 09 May 2012
in Digital Blogs

While so many predictions about the early 21st century have been proven wrong (alien invasion anyone?), the idea of cars that can drive themselves is quickly becoming a reality.

Two weeks ago Cadillac promised that there would be self-driving cars by 2015. As any nerd would, I excitedly envisioned myself in the passenger seat of my auto-piloted card, safely doing the things which would likely cause a car accident in 'normal cars'. As a master at procrastination, I imagine have those extra few precious moments to finish my work by deadline.

But it seems that Google is ahead of Cadillac, as they have begun testing their own driverless car. Google has been issued the first licence for a driverless car by Nevada.

Google is confident about their car's capabilities, with some saying that it may in fact be safer than cars driven by humans. This is because cars don't get distracted by the things human drivers lower their guard for - we all know how things get when there's a grisly accident on the road.

But I do admit feeling some trepidation with the idea that these cars might go mainstream. Automatic gears have already rendered many drivers useless with older cars. Just imagine drivers who can't drive at all - what happens when the auto-pilot malfunctions?

On the other hand, this technology could open up new avenues for those who can't drive for medical reasons or because of disabilities. Self-driving cars could in fact become an assistive technology, giving those with disabilities and certain impediments a whole new level of autonomy.

What do you think about this advance in technology? Do you think it's viable or just another shiny gadget which will never become mainstream?

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Comments

Wolfe
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Wolfe Thursday, 10 May 2012

Merc

Similar features have been available in vehicles for a few years. Merc has:

Park Assist - All you do is accelerate and brake as the vehicle steers
Distronic + - Will maintain a following distance you set behind the car in front of you which includes speeing up and coming to a complete stop....providing the car in front does not go faster than the speed you set.....takes some guts to use for the first time, but awesome in bumper to bumper traffic once you used to it and TRUST it...

Ms. Gadget
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Megan Ellis is a New Media student and young journalist at Rhodes University.
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Ms. Gadget Friday, 11 May 2012

Merc

I'm just used to the beeping of a car when there are nearby objects. My only concern is that the more automated cars become, fewer people will actually be able to drive. I doubt that that's much of an issue here though - very few would be able to afford these features or even high-end cars in general.

Whocares?
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Whocares? Sunday, 13 May 2012

Wow

I dont think the traffic officials will allow this to happen in South Africa, who will pay them bribes? lol, they will broke.

On a serious note, this is very interesting, I can imagine myself sitting in one during peak traffic while browsing the net on my iPad or responding to important meeting.

Ms. Gadget
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Megan Ellis is a New Media student and young journalist at Rhodes University.
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Ms. Gadget Sunday, 13 May 2012

Road rage

I'm sure there will be many law breakers to keep the corrupt cops happy :P

I imagine that these types of cars could seriously decrease the number of accidents, road rage incidents (we can finally relax in traffic) and other hazards. I'm not sure however if they'll be able to sense potholes. This could also really help getting drunk people home, seriously decreasing the amount of people who die in these accidents - especially since other vehicles are often involved.

Jude
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Jude Saturday, 26 May 2012

Please Mr Taximan...

Could driverless vehicles catch on in South Africa? Santaco would boycott Google in a heart beat if they learnt that taxi drivers could be replaced by an intelligent machine.

Ms. Gadget
Ms. Gadget
Megan Ellis is a New Media student and young journalist at Rhodes University.
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Ms. Gadget Friday, 06 July 2012

The strike begins

Judging by any previous attempts to take their monopoly away over public transport, the Google cars would be burnt. But hopefully other driverless cars will be able to react more quickly to the mad movements of an overloaded taxi, hopefully saving more lives.

Pity we can't use intelligent machines over brainless drivers.

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