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Self Driving Cars Essay

1012 words - 5 pages

Imagine laying in bed watching your favorite movie, playing your favorite video game, or listening to your favorite song. Now, imagine that on your way to work or to the store. Self driving cars could make this a possibility. We have been tinkering with ideas for autonomous vehicles for almost a century and a few companies have even been successful in designing a fully functioning self driving car. Roads full of these video game-esque cars controlled by artificial intelligence or other means of autonomy may not be as distant in the future as one might think. This, being a drastic change in the way we travel, could cause many issues. Due to these potential issues, it is in our best interest ...view middle of the document...

Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo’s President and CEO, stated that “Volvo Cars’ long-standing human-centric approach and commitment to safety gives us a different starting point from other car manufacturers when we address the field of autonomous driving” (Smuelsson). In 2007, Volvo announced that “no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by 2020.” (Volvo Cars, 2013) Being the only automotive manufacturer to make a statement promising no deaths or serious injuries, there is stress to hold true. The only way to ensure that there aren’t any deaths or injuries is to lower the severity or eliminate any chance of user error. They are currently introducing autonomous features to their cars to be used at the drivers discretion and offering these features to consumers. Some Volvo cars, including the newer S60s and S80s, can now brake without user interaction in multiple scenarios to avoid or lessen an impact. The cars have detection systems, using radar, cameras, and infrared sensors, that detect if the car is in danger of colliding with pedestrians or other vehicles. It will warn the driver and then apply braking force, even stopping, to avoid collisions. Volvo is also working on a fully autonomous car that is controlled by magnets under the roadways. This wouldn’t be an ideal method of getting self-driving cars on the roads, because the cost would be high and the amount of maintenance would be higher.
On October 1st, 1986, a project, named PROMETHEUS (Program for European Traffic with Highest Efficiency and Unprecedented Safety), was launched by Daimler-Benz and several other european car manufacturers. With the help of Ernst Dickmanns, a german engineer, a version of the Mercedes W140 S-Class was re-engineered to use saccadic computer vision, microprocessors, and probabilistic approaches to react to road and traffic conditions in real time. This is an amazing feat considering that modern smartphones can be more than 20 times more powerful than computers from 1990. Mercedes is now designing a self-driving car based on the...

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