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Driverless cars: challenges need to be overcome

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It has been disclosed that a £15 wireless device can be purchased online which amplifies a modern car’s wireless entry system allowing access to the car by a third-party.

We have also seen the astonishing Chrysler hack where a car could be tampered with from over 100 miles away.

Another risk associated with rolling out technology in ‘smartcars’ as opposed to other platforms is the potential of distraction leading to accidents due to poor design or malfunctions.

Technology experts outside of aviation and medical products tend not to follow stringent testing methodologies, but lazily rely on fixing problems as they arise. Therefore a misconfigured service in a fast moving ‘smartcar’ can lead to death.

A number of factors may lead to change however. The motivation to build rigorous and secure systems should be there, because it is quite possible that all involved in its design could be held liable if a defect caused or even contributed to a collision.

One problem with the self-driving cars that we are seeing on a grand scale such as from Google is the sheer amount of computing power used in both the actual driving and the pre-preparation stage.

In Google’s example, the streets in Mountain View, California, are mapped in great detail recording measurements such as the height of curbs and road signs.

However, only a few thousand miles of road have been mapped as opposed to the thousands of millions of miles of road worldwide that need to be done.

Having said that, there are many of us who never would have predicted Google Street View on such a large scale was possible - so it is not inconceivable that Google can map each street in splendid detail for future autonomous cars.

But, previous attempts to commercialise automatic vehicle control have failed, because they required dedicated infrastructure and vehicles that must remain entirely under automatic control.

New technologies, like CMOS radar-on-a-chip and all-weather LIDAR, will lead to more intelligent, more reliable vehicles. These next-generation autonomous cars will bring man and machine together harmoniously, letting you do the driving, but taking over if you got into trouble but for now the cost of recreating safe driverless vehicles is simply too expensive.


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  • James Poirier - 08/08/2015 21:23

    Google-Map "World Transportation Center" ...if you wish to know the geographic location where America's new autonomous-car system begins.

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