Self-Driving Cars: Emerging the Streets and Society

May 29, 2016

Introduction: How has Self-Driving Cars Revolutionized Society?

 

Self-driving cars had been told as a futuristic sci-fi myth for many decades. People have been dreaming and talking about it. Today, many companies are testing their self-driving features on the car, while some companies already introduced them on the roads. Currently, Google has released those vehicles “on the streets of Mountain View, CA, Austin, TX, Kirkland, WA, and Metro Phoenix, AZ” for “more than 1.5 million miles” (Google). Artificial intelligence is starting to take over transportation, along with job opportunities. There would gradually be less drivers in the cars, and youths would eventually no longer need driving education. Concerns about getting a ticket and accidents would lessen, as the probability of it would diminish. People would no longer have to drive themselves to work, as they could sleep in the car, and let the automation system do the work. Self-driving cars are relatively new to society, and engineers are finding ways to improve them, and spread them across the world.

 

Pros and Cons about Self-Driving Vehicles


Self-automated vehicles has played a big role in the society, but there are some drawbacks towards using it as well. Because “81 percent of all car accidents are caused by human error,” self automated vehicles have reduced most of the danger completely (Top 20). There would be almost no way that a driver would be distracted from other objects, nor would the original driver receive tickets. It is time saving, as people would no longer have to take a written exam, take lessons, or take a road test for any licence. There would be no more worries about talking or texting while driving, and that former driver could spend time doing other things in the car. Disabled people could also relax, and self-driving cars can take them to their destinations. However, because these vehicles are not yet fully developed, only a few people could afford buying them. These vehicles become dysfunctional when exposed to extreme climate conditions such as heavy rain or snow, and unstable ground conditions. Although self-driving vehicles reduce a lot of the risk of danger, it does not completely eradicate it, as it could not yet detect complicated traffic situations, such as sudden change of lane by another car. When one of the object sensors gets crashed by a car, the driver would have to pay more than any other ordinary car accident. Jobs, such as Driver-Ed courses, would gradually start to go out of business, as there is “no need to educate people on how to drive” (Top 20).

 

Case Study: George Hotz


George Hotz, former hacker of iPhone and PlayStation, invented a self-driving system for his car. Unlike self-driving automobiles made by Google and Tesla, which rely on “very expensive sensors” and “rigid rules,” Hotz’s sensors consist of “6 smartphone cameras that cost $13 apart,” along a training software using neural net, a “self-teaching AI mechanism that grabs data from drivers and learns from their choices;” moreover, he plans to sell the entire camera and software package for “only about $1000” (Vance). A Chinese CAN transceiver, where broadcasts are stored, is attached at the roof of the car, which is connected to a computing HUB, located in the former glove compartment. A joystick is attached to the steering wheel, brake and the lever. The car is battery powered, so there is a plug that charges the car’s batteries. A screen is attached inside the car, displaying a two arrows: a green arrow which shows the recommended position of the car, and a blue arrow which shows the current position of the car. When the driver turns the wheel, the brake, or the lever, the information is broadcasted to the transceivers, and a screen is displayed on the software, as everything is controlled digitally. Using the neural net AI, Hotz trains the driving software by driving manually for ten hours, before letting the system do its own work. Prices have been a restraint for many large companies, yet Hotz had fixed this by using cheap cameras and software to fix the problem. However, Hotz would also need more work on how to protect his camera sensors and other equipment from extreme weather conditions.

 

The Future


Today, self-driving cars are just emerging onto the streets of some towns, and they could detect objects in all directions and follow the safe path. By 2020, there will be “10 million self-driving cars” on the road, becoming “fully autonomous”, without any driver interaction. They will be able to solve complicated road problems, avoiding every accident possible (Greenburgh). There will be no more concerns about distracted driving, as over-the-phone meetings can be held conveniently, and things could be done much quicker. Costs will decrease, and more people will afford to buy them. About ten years after, these vehicles will become adapt to extreme climate, and the automation will work at any condition, not becoming altered in any way. Not only cars would be self-driven, but also buses, taxis, trucks and even trains would become self-automated. There will be little to no human labor, and more self-automation used in all kinds of transportation. Drivers will be able to spend time pursuing other passions, rather than driving people day in and day out. Less people would need driver education, and more people could spend time doing other things. Jobs that involve the use of artificial intelligence would take over other jobs that fall behind technologically.


 






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