Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Driverless Car?

A car driven by a hi-tech ghost of laser sensors and computers went on exhibit in London Wednesday, before it competes against other robot cars in the United States in November.

The Volkswagen Passat 2.0 TDI drives using two eye-like laser sensors in the front and one in the back that scan road conditions, buildings, other vehicles and pedestrians over a range of up to 200 metres (650 feet).

An on-board computer digests and acts on the information using software developed by the Hamburg, Germany-based Ibeo Automobile Sensor company, said company experts displaying the car at the Science Museum in London.

In November, the car will compete against other driverless vehicles in the third annual US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Urban Challenge over a 60-mile course in America.

"We are competing against the world's best in terms of automobile technology," Ibeo chief executive Ulrich Lages said.

"Although we are a relatively small team and, unlike the big players, do not have a large budget, we believe we have a great chance at DARPA 2007," he said.

"Our innovative laser technology gives us a lead of several years over our prospective rivals, especially in the field of object and environmental detection," he said.

Christened LUX, the refitted Volkswagen that looks exactly like a standard road model is due to go into small-scale production next year and the firm hopes that its technology can eventually be used in production cars.

At a conference in the US city of San Francisco in February, scientists predicted robot-driven cars could be shuttling humans around by the year 2030.

I see the positives and the negatives with something like this.
The elderly could then get from point A to Point B without causing accidents and without too much trouble. The technology is still at its infancy.

I however don't think if this becomes an option on vehicles I will take it. I like the feel of the road, the feel of the wheel and the freedom of driving. Unless I live long enough to be really elderly then I will call my Car "Charles" and have him drive me around wherever the hell I want.

1 comment:

LRO said...

"I like the feel of the road, the feel of the wheel and the freedom of driving."

nice line! sometimes technology takes too much away from our 5 senses. Less human...
Too much power steering in some vehicles makes driving boring to me.