Transportation and Highways
An autonomous vehicle or a vehicle that does not have a driver, at other times referred to as robotic vehicle is a vehicle that has capabilities of steering on its own with no need of any human involvement. These vehicles use innovative technologies such as lasers, lidar and GPS. These technologies assist the vehicle in sensing the surrounding it is situated and run itself on the road. Many corporations and institutions such as Oxford University, Toyota, Stanford University, Lexus, Google and Audi have already created working trial products of these self directed vehicles. In this field, Google Company has gone a long way by successfully testing different vehicles (Roebuck, 2011).
The self directed vehicles history goes back to the Futuruma Exhibition that was put on by General Motors. General Motors wished for electronic circuits that were set in the highways so that they could control these electronic vehicles. During the 1980’s period, there were major rises in the technologies used in self directed driving (Roebuck, 2011). Ernst Dickmanns and his assembly assembled vehicles that were self directed and averaged a speed of 96kmph on streets that had less traffic. These technologies implemented were parallel computing, saccadic vision and kalman filters.
This led to the European Commission in funding 800 million Euros for the researches conducted on automated vehicles. A big breakthrough took place in 1991 when the United States passed the ISTEA Transportation Authorization Bill that included the introductions of highway system and automated vehicles by 1997. Roebuck (2011) asserts that in 1994, VITA-2 and VAMP vehicles drove up to 130kmph. This was done on a Paris three lane highway that had limited interventions from human beings. Ever since 2000, many self directed and semi autonomous cars are being used particularly in industries such as mining and military. On the other hand, a passenger transit system that is fully automated is also in its advance stage even though a lot of substantial work has been made in this particular field.
Various technologies were used in these self directed vehicles. The anti-lock brake which is a simple driverless system is presently in use. Even though these brakes require human assistance for them to function, they are regarded as automated due to the fact that they substitute the human effort used continuously when pumping the brakes. In a vehicle that has no anti-lock brakes, the person driving is needed to pump the brake constantly so that the brake could be prevented from locking itself. Additionally, an anti-lock system performs better on its own by recognizing the state of affairs when the wheels switch to lock mode and pump the brake (Roebuck, 2011).
This task is carried out more proficiently than a human doing it. Another technology of the autonomous vehicles is the self parking systems. In a Lexus vehicle, the advanced parking guidance systems use sensors for it to read the vehicles surroundings. This system looks for a feasible parking area centered on the readings and it is the driver’s work to find a suitable parking spot. This system consists of various human factors such as searching places where parking is not restricted. According to Roebuck (2011), adaptive cruise control is another technology used. In this type of technology, the driver has the capabilities of setting the vehicle’s predetermined speed.
This means that the vehicle will run at the given constant speed without the driver’s care. This cruise control has a disadvantage that one needs handle the vehicles moving slowly properly. Radar technologies are mostly used in adaptive cruise control. This will help in detecting any object that is in front of the vehicle. Additionally, it can know the speed of the vehicle in front of it. This is done in moving vehicles only. For that reason, adaptive cruise control can be used in stopping vehicles incase obstacles are detected. The other technology is traction or stability control (Roebuck, 2011). These systems become aware of situations when the vehicle wants to skid. It uses the needed amount of pressure on the wheels that are not the same rather than the technology putting on the same pressure on every wheel leading to efficient control.
These self directed cars are needed mostly in the current world. This is because traffic accidents are the main causes of death on the highways and transport sector. The other transport modes such as ships and airplanes are said to be safer than the road. According to the accident analysis carried out, many accidents are caused by human errors. Many people believe that introducing self directed vehicles in the transportation may lead to safer and better road journey. At other times, different people suggest that these automated vehicles will assist in saving the commuters’ time. This is because the commuters will not be needed to spend a lot of time to control their cars when travelling.
As stated by Roebuck (2011), in transportation, these automated vehicles have a lot of advantages and disadvantages as well. One of the advantages is that if these vehicles are travelling separately, they can move at a high speed and also the gap seen between these two vehicles may be minimized. This will in the end increase the existing highways capacity. On the other hand, these automated vehicles may lead to better car pooling concept. In a situation where different people need a vehicle at different day tomes, they will be able to mange by using the same vehicle as an individual is not needed in driving the vehicle from one area to another.
This may even lead to substantial protection of the environment at large. Another advantage is that a lot of people will be relieved on the problems endured while navigating and driving. These automated vehicles have enhanced security measures that assist in reducing accidents that occur on the highways. Everyone is suitable in using these automated vehicles regarding their ages and if they have the ability to drive a vehicle or not.
These self directed vehicles have some disadvantages. The first one is that a lot of concerns would be raised in case this automated vehicle causes an accident on the highway (Roebuck, 2011). The vehicle manufacturer would be the ones to be blamed. This is because there would be no one to be blamed for the accident because the programmed vehicle can not answer to the charges. Moreover, another big advantage is that if the autonomous vehicle is not handled properly, it may have various software problems frequently. This may lead to invalid stoppages unless skilled professions are on standby.
Currently, many states in the United States have permitted people to drive these autonomous vehicles on the highway. Google Corporation has been consciousness raising the laws that relate to these self directed vehicles. The foremost worries that these law makers have is that many of these predominant laws do not apply to self driven cars. The laws makers fear that incase the self driven vehicles start to be used on the highways and there are no suitable transport laws made at that time, a lot of misconducts will be seen.
In conclusion, technology is said to be evolving to enhance the life of mankind. This is true as it is viewed on these autonomous vehicles. With many sided benefits, the automated vehicles are the future technological advancements. This will not make peoples’ lives to be easy, but people will be guaranteed of safety and traffic that is orderly. These vehicles will improve transportation in the future.
Roebuck, K. (2011). Driverless Car Technology: High-Impact Emerging Technology – What You Need to Know: Definitions, Adoptions, Impact, Benefits, Maturity, Vendors. Newstead: Emereo Pty Limited.