Before cars start driving themselves completely, they’ll most likely start helping humans behave better on the road, politely ignoring instructions to run a red light or noticing traffic cones or other obstacles a driver might not see. A new system developed at MIT could help cars have our backs, letting them serve as semi-autonomous co-pilots.
Though driverless cars are making plenty of inroads, it may be awhile yet before people are willing to hand over the keys and let their cars take over entirely. But a few autonomous functions may make the transition smoother. Cadillac is testing lane-detection and automatic braking technology for use on highways, according to General Motors.
Future self-driving cars could make traffic smoother and safer, among plenty of other potential benefits, but one thing you don’t hear much about — and should — is their utility for people with physical limitations. For example, Steve Mahan, who has lost 95 percent of his vision. He becomes Google Autonomous Car Driver #1 in the video past the jump.
Without a doubt, the best part of an auto show is the test drive — you can sink into the cushiony driver’s seat, behold the beautiful control panel, feel the steering wheel slip comfortably between your fingers. At this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, that won’t happen. Test drivers will sit in the back seat of an autonomous Prius, letting the car drive them around by itself. It’ll probably be worth the back seat view.
According to China Daily, back in July, a Chinese driverless car traveled about 175 miles, at around 55 mph, on an expressway laden with other cars. Even more impressive, the car needed no GPS assistance, instead relying on only video cameras and radar sensors to see the road and the other drivers.
Driverless cars are just catching on in this country, but they're already zooming around London's main airport, ferrying passengers from their people-driven cars to the terminal.
Twenty-two of these automated pods are operating at Heathrow's Terminal 5, the shiny new terminal occupied by British Airways.
Google's self-driving cars have apparently had their first fender-bender — and it was a person's fault, the company says.
The car blog Jalopnik posted the above photo of one of Google's self-driving cars, which they identified by the rack on the roof that resembles a smaller version of the Street View setup. It appears to have rear-ended another Prius, to the obvious dismay of the people gathered around it.
Cars are already capable of driving and parking themselves while avoiding obstacles, but to do so, they need to see their surroundings. How do you know whether you’re maintaining a safe distance from vehicles around you when it’s dark outside, or when headlights can’t penetrate the fog? A new class of small, sensitive optical sensors could help.