Thursday, October 1, 2015

Will Über and Others Make Autonomous Cars Ubiquitous?

Of course they will! That headline is sort of silly -- as we read over at BuzzFeed, "There’s a lot of skepticism about self-driving cars. About how successful they’ll be, about whether people will really want to use them, about whether they’re safe. But this is what you should know about autonomous vehicles: They are coming. Inevitably. Inexorably. Coming."

Further on...

The first time I rode in a fully autonomous car, what really impressed me was when the car saw something that I could not. As I rode down a residential street in Mountain View, the car slowed, for no apparent reason. Yet in the front seat, a laptop showed everything the car could “see.” And up ahead, there was a man, in the street, standing behind a double-parked vehicle. He was concealed from my eyes, but the car detected him. And it slowed down, anticipating that he might step out unexpectedly.

We read at Forbes that Google’s $258M investment in Uber shows it is serious about commercializing the Google Car. Even without car sharing, driverless cars will deliver tremendous social and economic benefits. Every year, more than 1.3 million people die in car accidents worldwide, and more than 50 million are seriously injured. In the US alone, more than 34 thousand die and 2.2 million are injured in over 5 million accidents. 90% of these accidents are caused by human error. Google has declared its intention to reduce accidents by 90% using driverless vehicle technology. Volvo is on a mission to eliminate all deaths and injuries in its cars by 2020.

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