Driverless cars-it may be awhile before they hit the showroom | The Martin Law Firm
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Driverless cars-it may be awhile before they hit the showroom

Humans are a problem in an automobile. Driving around Houston, you see they are easily distracted by everything from a crying baby in the back seat to a text message on their cell phone. They get drunk and become fatigued. They have car accidents and suffer personal injuries that require weeks in the hospital and sometimes cost millions of dollars for their recovery.

Wouldn't it be great if we could just have a computer make all the decisions and take care of all these problems? With a driverless car, imagine all the books, emails and texts you could read, how you could catch up on your sleep and best of all, no more car accidents.

There is just one small problem. For all of their faults and failing, it appears that the technological solution to car accidents and all of their accompanying death and destruction, humans are still better at driving a vehicle in crowded and unpredictable conditions than a machine.

While they would save lives and time, and help ease highway congestion, because cars could travel more closely and less erratically, there are many moving parts to the equitation necessary to build a successful driverless car.

Something as basic as the sensor technology needs to become much less expensive and much smaller before production cars can carry it as standard equipment. For instance, one sensor used on a BMW prototype costs $80,000.

Additionally the artificial intelligence that operates the entire system still needs improvement before it can cope with the road conditions seen in most cities. So put down the phone and pay attention, as it may be some time before you can leave the driving to your cars computer.  

Source: MIT Technology Review, "Driverless Cars Are Further Away Than You Think," Will Knight, Oct. 22, 2013

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