The participation of Toyota sends a signal that automakers are taking autonomous vehicles seriously, experts say. "Having someone like Toyota, with that kind of industry pull, is a very important step," Dave Sullivan, manager of product analysis for AutoPacific Inc., told Design News. "Google is one thing. But having a big automaker exploring this is another." Sullivan added that he has seen and photographed Toyota's autonomous vehicles being tested near its research center in Ann Arbor, Mich.
A Lexus equipped with a 360-degree LIDAR (light detection and ranging) laser on its roof can detect objects as far away as 70 meters. (Source: Toyota Motor Corp.)
Up to now, the most notable driverless cars have come from outside the auto industry's original equipment market. In the Defense Department's 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge, five cars developed by research teams independently traversed a 140-mile course, including mountain roads and hairpin turns. In the 2007 Urban Challenge, six more vehicles finished successfully. Google's autonomous cars are also said to have logged more than a quarter-million driverless miles.
Still, technical challenges remain if driverless cars are ever to become products. Designers of driverless vehicles have previously told Design News that GPS systems don't update quickly enough, and must be augmented by supporting technologies, such as inertial sensors. Driverless cars are also still "learning" to determine what's in front of them, and whether it's time to stop or go.
Sullivan said that the challenges will have to be addressed over many years. "The big thing will be getting consumers to trust this technology," he told us. "A lot of them still have issues with their phones and computers, so how can we expect them to trust an autonomous car?"
Yes, my point exactly. And unfortunately, it seems that the most accidents happen where there are lots of cars, and that is where they are being touted as such an improvement in safety. And as for meeting unexpected conditions, I come across those about half the times that I go driving. So really, a driverless vehicle is "a solution looking for a problem". They would probably be handy for convoys, where driver fatigue has been a problem, and they could probably help make intercity trucking a bit safer, but I would not want thenm in my neighborhood.
There's one simple fact that proves your point perfectly, William K: Even the most ardent supporters of driverless vehicles have admitted that the technology's not ready for use in crowded, complicated settings, such as Bombay, India. The human brain is much better than electronic controllers at dealing with the unexpected.
Pblanche, driving is a major activity, where atmost care has to take but now a day's the most soficated and advanced in-house entertainment systems are diverting driver attention up to an extent. While driving, personally I won't use such systems for a better attention.
I don't find driving relaxing at all. My commute is on the Interstate highway system and being vigilant and aware is always a must for me. The death toll on Tennessee highways last year (2012) was 1,012 people. Most of this was due to carelessness, elevated speeds and inattention. In my opinion, this is a ridiculously high number. The number of people taking public transportation has remained steady but most families are multi-car families with mom and dad working and they both need transportation. This fact along increases the probability a greater number of accidents will occur. I would say the development efforts of Toyota and Audi are well -placed and should continue simply due to annual death rates on our public highways, local and interstate. Even with this being the case, we are probably years, maybe decades, away from cars Charles mentions in his article.
The comment about humans making mistakes illus6trates exactly the fundamental fault that all of the driverless cars will be built with, which is the ability to think. The very best that a driverless caar can do is follow a set of programmed rules, it really can't do any better than that. So if there are no cars within a mile, it will still stop at every stop sign, even if you are attempting to rush to a hospital to save a life. The driverless software will never consider the relative risk, the lawyers have already decided that it will be way more cautious than my grandmother was when driving. The other fault is even worse, which is that with the billions of lines of code controlling the car, if there ever is a problem, the carmaker will have to refuse to admit the existance of a problem, because of potential liability concerns.
So even if there were no other problems with the driverless car, those two problems amount to an immovable show-stopper.
Many good points but I believe that the first adopters should be those who view driving as a necessary evil and who are most likely to be engaged in other activity while driving. Urban environments where chronic congestion is widespread is an area where Self-Driving Technologies will be a benefit provided they are not used as an alternative to the continued development and upgrading of our mass transit systems.
Security and the integration of regional traffic information data aquisition into the SDTs will be addressed as part of the product development process and the collection, transfer and delivery of secure accurate information will become an integral part of our transportion infrastructure.
I envision a day when those who do not desire to bear the burden of piloting a motor vehicle where other options are not available will not have to do so. I also believe that when this comes to pass that there should be more rigorous licensing requirements for those who do want to have the privilege of driving autonomously. What a glorious day that will be for those of us who enjoy driving! No more left lane hogs, no more right turns from the left turn lane! Too many examples to list. I am excited.
Charles, I agree that human drivers are making repeat mistakes, but very rarely. But they have some logical thinking for reaching the destiny or taking suitable route depends up on traffic situation and information’s in front of them. But when comes to auto navigating system, the entire decisions are based on the info feeded and there are chances for wrong decisions too, because of the lack of right information.
Prakash, all coins have two sides. Like that there are chances for misusage, but hope for the best. Technological developments are for human advancement and to make the lifestyle smoother/ easier. So there are chances for misuse too, but will you think that will make cease further invention, No. it's a part of the journey.
As usual driverless car depends on software and networking which will become an easy target for terrorist to create chaos, damage to property and lives by hacking their software and introduce malfunctions.
In my opinion, it is good to have them in ideal world but not in today's world where terrorism is a big menance.
A middle school team from Rochester, Mich., has again nabbed the grand prize in the annual international Future City Competition, which drew students from 37 regions of the United States, as well as from England and China.
The word “smart” is becoming the dumbest word around. It has been applied to almost every device and system in our homes. In addition to smartphones and smart meters, we now hear about smart clothing and smart shoes, smart lights, smart homes, smart buildings, and every trendy city today has its smart city project. Just because it has a computer inside and is connected to the Web, does not mean it is smart.
Are you being paid enough? Do you want a better job? According to a recent survey Manpower released just before Engineers Week, employers and engineers don't see eye-to-eye about the state of US engineers' skills and experience.
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