With California Governor Jerry Brown’s signature, autonomous cars are officially legal in California. Automotive representatives of Google plan to have them available to the public within five years, but Google as a whole does not support this claim.
Continental presented its new automotive systems like Advanced Driver Assistance in Alzenau and Babenhausen while announcing its plans for autonomous cars. Many of the new technology they debuted was what is needed for an autonomous car. This included cameras that see 360 degrees, emergency brake assist radar, and flexible cruise control. Many modern cars have some form of emergency brake assist that prevents accidents in almost every environment. These features are the start of driverless cars. The automobiles Continental revealed to international press were equipped with cameras that could detect the presence and shape of people walking or on a bicycle.
Continental sees driverless cars as “the car you can’t crash” as the company plans to boast a 0% accident rate. Ralf Lenninger, senior vice president of Continental, states that the company wants these cars ready to use in construction and possibly on the freeway by next year. They hope by 2017 the cars will be ready for city driving and full road capability by 2020 or 2025.
Europe has yet to legalize autonomous cars but it will be a subject up for discussion during a Vienna convention. Allowing driverless cars on public streets in the United States has proven to be slow going in several states.
California joins Florida and Nevada in making these cars street legal, but Hawaii and Arizona’s proposals did now become law. Google claims they did not get involved with driverless car legalization in any states, but started soon after talks began by government officials. Nevada was a good place to start because it is near the facility, has a diverse amount of drivable area, and pedestrians are struck and killed at a higher rate than in other states.
Autonomous cars remove the human element from the driver’s seat and replace it with technology which is easily modified and perfected unlike the average person who can only be more careful. The only problem is keeping technology up to date especially when it comes to new roads, construction, and updates to GPS mapping. Lack of these updates could cause more crashes than driverless cars prevent. There is still remnants of a human element in the technology which will be around for several more years until car’s technology has a way of mapping on such a large scale.
http://www.motortrend.com/ features/auto_news/2012/1301_ the_beginning_of_the_end_of_ driving/