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Why is Automated Transportation The Future Now?

We are living in a world where you get to try out new things every day. The rise of technology is
becoming an integral part of our lives. The Artificial Intelligence industry is poised to change the world,
and it has already begun. You have cars which can park themselves, robots which can perform surgery
and smart computers.

Why is Automated Transportation The Future Now

So, what happens when a car can drive itself? Are we ready for an automated future? Major car
manufacturers and brands are in a rush to design automated vehicles (AVs). They are looking to
manufacturer AVs to uses as commercial vehicles, taxis, agriculture, personal transportation and so
many more.

You will soon be able to go where you like, and your car will be able to do the driving for you, without
you worrying about hitting someone. It’s all automated, and safer – but how long before we can make it
a reality?

What is an Automated vehicle?

An autonomous vehicle is a car which can guide itself without any human interaction. It is also known as
a robot car, driver less car and a self-driving car.

AVs are built with various types of technology for it to function effectively. Some of the technologies
include:

  • AVs have inbuilt GPS to help in navigation.
  • They have sensors that help them avoid collisions and other accidents.
  • They use augmented reality which is a type of technology that a vehicle uses to display
    information to drivers.

In California, 52 companies have been approved by the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test
robot cars on the road. Some of these companies include Uber, Intel, Apple, Waymo, Tesla and Ford.
However, these cars are not yet commercially available on a large scale.

Should autonomous vehicles be on the road?

There has been a constant debate on whether autonomous vehicles are safe and ready for the road.
Regulations have already been set to ensure that every autonomous car has the right standards before it
hits the road. Here is a look at some of the pros and cons of autonomous vehicles.

Pros

  • The future machines are expected to cut carbon emissions by 60%. Autonomous vehicles are
    designed to ensure that fuel is optimized efficiently
  • Self-driving cars will reduce the number of accidents caused by reckless drivers and drunk
    driving.
  • The time consumed in driving is expected to reduce. You can now arrive at work on time.
  • The cars will help curb traffic thus reducing the amount of fuel and time spent in traffic jams.
  • Driver less cars will reduce car parking space, especially in urban areas.

Cons

  • A lot of people are skeptical about trusting a computer to do all the work.
  • Autonomous vehicles are expensive to design and maintain.
  • The cars heavily rely on sensors which might fail either due to bad weather and human traffic
    signals.
  • Honestly, you might learn how to drive a car.

The future is here, and it is inevitable. Do you think autonomous vehicles will change our future? Let us
know what you think.

Impacts of Automated Transportation

The costs and advantages of self-driving cars are still mostly indeterminate. We need more information and knowledge to fully evaluate how they’ll impact drivers, equity, the economy and other environmental matters. Here some essential points that must be considered when talking about automated transportation:

  • Human Safety

Safety is an important concern while driving. Thousands of deaths occur every year in the United States due to motor vehicle crashes. So, self-driving cars could hypothetically control this number as the software is proved to be less error-prone than humans but cyber-security is still a major problem here.

The cars can be hacked and controlled if in wrong hands.

  • Environmental Impacts

Affordable and suitable self-driving cars could increase the total number of miles driven every year. Gasoline-powered vehicles emit carbon dioxide that can harm the environment. These emissions could drop significantly if those vehicles are electrified and paired with a clean electricity grid. It’s been decades that researchers of the Union of Concerned Scientists are working on transportation-related policy issues, and advocates for fair, low-pollution vehicles, infrastructure, and fuels.

  • Can Lead Towards Unemploymen

Now, equity is again one of the major issues. No doubt, self-driving vehicles could mobilize individuals such as disabled and elderly who have difficulty in driving. But the acquisition of autonomous vehicles can displace millions of Americans employed as drivers and undesirably impact public transportation funding.

Investment on Autonomous Technology

Around the world, especially in the UK, automated transportation technology is being invested heavily. For testing driverless cars on the roads, an unprecedented investment of about 20 million Euros is made.

As the world is showing so much interest and investing in driverless technology, it’s easy to suspect that self-operating cars are forthcoming, but still, they are much farther away than our thinking. Manufacturing companies must handle a range of ethical and technical challenges and take action to fight the biggest threat to autonomous technology before our roads are flooded with automated vehicles.

Google Driverless Car

Technology Used

Autonomous vehicles greatly depend on a range of sensors to communicate with the world around them. The Google Driverless Car has eight sensors. The most visible feature is the rotating rooftop LIDAR, which is a camera that uses a range of either 64 or 32 lasers to detect the distance between objects, developing a 3D map at a range of 200m and permitting the car to see risks. The car also has another set of eyes, which is again a camera but a standard one that points through the windscreen. It detects nearby objects such as cyclists, pedestrians, and other motorists, as well as reads road signs, traffic lights, and tracks other vehicles in front and behind the car.

Exterior

The car’s exterior has a rear-mounted antenna that accepts geolocation information from GPS satellites, and an ultrasonic sensor on one side of the rear wheels that is fitted to monitor the car’s movements.

Interior

Internally, the car has altimeters, gyroscopes, and a tachometer to provide finer measurements on the car’s position. Together, all these sensors give highly accurate data that is needed to operate the car safely on the road.

With the help of these sensors and technology used, the Google Driverless Car can read and understand the road like a human, but these sensors have their own limitations. The camera of the automated car replaces the human eye but doesn’t have a set of brains like humans to understand common errors in daily life – leaving it vulnerable to extreme hot sunlight, weather changes or even nonfunctioning traffic lights. In existing autonomous cars, the way this selection of pixels is examined could be the difference between a safe and fatal journey.

We, Humans, Are the Big Problem to Autonomous Vehicles

Unpredictable behavior of humans (both drivers and pedestrians) can significantly challenge the autonomous cars. The very first injury reported with the Google Driverless Car wasn’t due to a fault in its system, but it was due to a human error. Google itself revealed an incident in July that was caused by a human driver’s failure to stop and Google’s self-driving car was hit by an inattentive driver from the back.

Read more about this exciting technology, its history, present, and future in this interesting book “Autonomy: The Quest to Build the Driverless Car—And How It Will Reshape Our World” by Lawrence D. Burns (advisor to the Google Self-Driving Car team and former GM research and development chief)

Some Interesting Facts about Driverless Cars

  • In 2016, a passenger in a Tesla Model S died due to its autopilot feature which failed in detecting a tractor-trailer due to bad lighting and weather.
  • According to a scientific estimation, by 2050, almost all vehicles on the road will be autonomous.
  • A study showed that due to the safety policies incorporated in an autonomous car, the car would sacrifice its occupant(s) when it comes to saving the lives of many other people on the road.
  • In 2015, a 315-mile trip was made in France in a driverless vehicle without any human assistance.
  • You can see 12 autonomous Google cars roaming around in Silicon Valley. Out of 11 accidents that happened there, none were the fault of the driverless cars.

The future is here, and it is inevitable. Do you think that autonomous vehicles will change our future? Can they actually replace the standard automatic or manual cars we drive regularly? Let’s see.

Read next: Self-Driving Cars and Their Levels of Automation

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