selfdriving car

Speeding into the Future or Science Fiction Becoming Reality

More by Viara Radoulova - 11/12

Remember that pride you felt when you received your permit? If you have not received your permit or driver’s license yet, are you planning to get them? Well, they might not even exist later on or be as common in the future once the Self-Driving Car becomes popular.

What is the Self-Driving Car? It is a project created by Google, which involves developing and improving technology to create driverless cars. The goal for this type of vehicle is that it will be much safer than human-driven cars and there to be less accidents occurring.

“How much does this cost?” one might ask. Let’s just say it costs a little more than a Ferrari as of right now. The enormous display of sensors that Google has to install in the cars alone costs around $250,000 or more. Add an additional $45,000 retail price of the Lexus RX450h car it is modifying.

“So I can now text in the car?” Because the car can drive itself, you can text without the fear of getting into an accident. When one of your parents is driving for hours during a trip, have you heard them say that they are tired? With the self-driving car, they just need to press a button for the vehicle to drive itself while they get some rest. When you want the machine to drive, it will drive, but when you want, you can grab the steering wheel and you have control over the vehicle. Another benefit is that blind people would finally transport faster and with more ease. This technology would provide transport to individuals who should not drive. The main cause of auto accidents, which is drunk driving, will not occur if people own the driverless car.

The system combines information gathered from Google Street View with artificial intelligence software that combines input from video cameras inside the car, a LIDAR sensor on top of the vehicle, radar sensors on the front of the vehicle and a position sensor attached to one of the rear wheels that helps locate the car's position on the map. Google expects that the increased accuracy of its automated driving system could help reduce the number of traffic-related injuries and deaths, while using energy and space on roadways more efficiently.

 A goal Google wants to achieve with their project is to make it be able to drop off a person at the desired place and then go park itself or return home.
According to sophomores Liam Donoghue, Nick Tuzinkiewicz, Jack Griffiths, and Jack Garfield, their concerns about this car are its looks and most essentially malfunctions and failures with this technology.

Have there been any accidents so far while test-driving? A couple of accidents have occurred, but an occasional malfunction is not stopping the auto industry and technology companies from speeding into the self-driving car segment. Many people find it terrifying to imagine a world in which people hand over the steering wheel to a computer.

“You can’t always rely on technology,” said freshman Felix Rooney.
A downside can be that people who work in taxi services or deliver pizza and other goods may lose their jobs because of this product. 

Another concern is whether this car goes over speed limits. The system drives at the speed limit it has stored on its maps and retains its distance from other vehicles using its system of sensors.

When asked who would get the blame if the car were to get into an accident sophomore Jessica De Rocco said, “I would need more information and research into the accident in order to make an accurate assessment.” On the other hand, Nick Tuzinkiewicz thinks differently. “I would blame Google if it is already marked as safe.” This technology is as if it popped out of a Sci-Fi book! So what new invention do you believe will be next? Flying cars perhaps?

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