Nissan's NSC-2015, on display at the CEATEC 2012 conference in Japan, can find its own parking spot and return to pick you up after being summoned via mobile app. The car uses sensors and a camera to keep track of its location, and gives an owner a 360-degree camera view via an LTE connection of the area around the car, allowing him or her to remotely trigger the car's alarm in case of suspicious activity. Nissan will begin selling the car in 2015.
I would love to know more about the systems that allow this to happen and how apps integrate relative to those systems. This is an excellent article and falls in line with another I read discussing the use of application software and Wi-Fi packages to program and trouble shoot robots used in manufacturing processes. One very beneficial advantage would be protecting workers and shutting down machinery in case health issues arose. This could prevent injury and promote safety. Great article.
mrdon, I agree with your comment about it making society lazy but not just mentally - I often intentionally park my car far away from the entrance in order to get some needed exercise. While having a car park itself can be a blessing for the handicapped or infirmed, I think we are losing too much physical activity to technological advances and our health will suffer because of it...
I can see the group of 10 year olds standing at the doors of the mall with their hacked Ipads directing the computers in the cars to collide with each other. Unless and until someone comes up with a computer that cannot be taken over by a bad guy/prankster, I'll settle for dealing with illogical human powered vehicles.
All is well and good until 50 people dump off their cars into a parking lot with 40 spaces (most full). You come back an hour later to find a herd of cars circling endlessly around a full parking lot with near empty gas tanks. Gridlock in the parking lot.
In fact, why even have a parking lot. Just have a big oval track where the car inserts itself with the rest of the idle cars. Since all the cars will communicate with each other (how else would they be able to plot against us?) they can all stop moving until one needs to exit, then move in concert to allow that car to reach the exit point.
In all seriousness, since Nissan programmed the car, will they be responsible for accidents/incidents while the car is driving itself? We are entering a brave new world where causality and responsibility are being blurred. Until the infrastructural, legal, moral, and social frameworks are in place to deal with robots and humans interacting, all of this is merely fantasy.
Computers are cool tools to aid us with mundane task but I rather be in control of my vehicle without the worry of a system malfunction. The key to safe driving is to pay attention to the road. To rely on a computer for driveability is becoming too dependent on technology which makes society lazy and not able to think on their own. A simple example of technology dependency is the TV remote. For alot of folks if their not able to find it the TV is broke as opposed to just turning the channels manually.
I think the new term will be "computer gridlock" as driverless cars will not be able to see beyond the nearest car and see other driver intentions by looking them in the eye or seeing them smile, wave, or flip you the sign.
As a middle age human, the idea of retirement in a self driving RV is really appealing to me. Imagine taking a nap while the RV travels to your next destination. Imagine the RV robotically recharging itself when the batteries are in need. Imagine not having a 70 or 80 year old human driving the RV down the road. That is how I see my retirement in 25 or 30 years. It is an awesome dream, can we make it the reality?