Usually labeled a science fiction dream, self-driving cars are making their way onto our streets. The search giant Google has been working on their dream of a self-driving car for at least a year now. We know Google for its search engines and antics in the mobile market with Android, but what most don’t know is that Google’s real passion is using technology to solve real life issues. For now these are not really an autopilot function as much as they are a beefed up cruise control. There needs to be a driving behind the wheel that is paying attention rather than sleeping, texting, or watching the news. The hope is that the future models of these will make driving easier and prevent accidents.
Automakers have been including technology in their cars for a while now and it comes as no surprise that many of them have their own plans in this arena. Cadillac for example has plans for a feature that they are calling super cruise. This function will help a vehicle to steer, brake, and overall stay in a lane at highway speeds. Audi has developed what is called a “traffic jam assistant”. This tool will scan up to 820 feet ahead and also keeps track of surrounding vehicles to keep it going in lane at proper speed and to break when needed. Mercedes-Benz has a feature that is able to carry out every day driving maneuvers such as lane changes and overtaking slower vehicles autonomously.
Mobile Application Developers
The impact this technology can have on the mobile world could be huge. People spend a very large amount of time driving that could otherwise be spent being productive or the like. There is even a market for apps that could interface with the self-driving program. Like everyone else, mobile application developers are getting excited too. This could likely be another large step into a future that embraces mobile technology.
Problems with Self-Driving
While this all seems like a great function and many can’t wait to see it brought into our society, there are many still that question the wisdom of such an idea. Insurance companies could be hit hard as there would be little need for it if no one ever crashed. We also have to think about people who actually like driving and would not be willing to give it up. This could be problematic. On the mobile application development side of things we have to worry about OS crashes and how this could affect drivers and cars around you. A problem that Google is facing is the fact that these cars are driving at the speed limit. This shouldn’t be an issue but not many people actually drive at the speed limit. Google cars don’t actually have to worry about the speed of the car, they have race cars that they drive on their personal track that have very little trouble navigating at high speeds.
I feel that this sort of this is inevitable and that fighting it may be futile. The thing we need to be wary of is safety. With this kind of tech, a mistake isn’t just an unhappy customer, but maybe a dead one. The one thing that excites me is that unsafe drivers will not be in control of their cars anymore. When this is fully running it could eliminate drunk driving and even “bad” drivers. It would also give the infirm or unable to be able to drive again. Paraplegics and wheelchair ridden individuals would be able to “drive themselves”. What excites me the most is that the idea is out there and working. This thing is already out there and being tested. I would love to be able to just relax on my way to work and not have to worry about that “other guy”.
Google’s self-driving cars are extremely exciting and are quickly becoming a real thing for us. The running estimate seems to be the next 10 years or so before they are truly integrated into our lives, but I can hardly wait. Many automakers are already working on their own aspects of this technology that could ultimately come together to make the final product. The fact is that safer roads and less dangerous driving stop or prevent many unnecessary deaths. Driving impaired would not get people killed and those that would rather have their hands on their mobile keyboard rather than the wheel will no longer make us nervous. I cannot wait for this to become a reality. Mobile Application developers are getting excited to see more time spent with apps or games they make and to some even the integration with the rumored glass technology that is coming soon. These could spell for a very interesting future.