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Driverless Cars

Driverless Cars

Posted September 3rd, 2017 by TheLegend

by Alex
in New York

September 3rd, 2017



Alex Huang


      The first sketch or idea of a self- driving automobile was drawn by Leonardo da Vinci, who thought of it as a self- driving ox cart on a preprogrammed path. Although this idea never came into reality, it would have worked. The first self- steering vehicle was the sailboat, where the auto tiller would use ropes to control the tiller of the ship, to keep it on course even in strong winds. Of course, we aren’t talking about ships, its cars. During 1964-71, a breakthrough in self- navigating vehicles occurred. Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory Cart from Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, along with Shakey the robot at neighboring SRI (Stanford Research Institute) produced the Stanford Cart that pioneered techniques for navigating through an unfamiliar environment with artificial intelligence and machine vision. The Cart famously wandered into a nearby road, but survived unscathed.Then, in 2004, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency)challenged millions of companies to build a self- driving car that would drive it through the Mojave Desert. Although the cars made by first year’s contestants failed miserably, crashing or going off course before they even went a few miles, the next few years were exceptionally successful. By 2007, DARPA had changed the test course from the barren desert with only rocks and shrubs for obstacles, to a mock city environment. In the early 2000s, search engine giant Google hit the road by modifying Priuses and Lexuses to be able to drive themselves. Google’s new, innovative system has guided these cars millions of miles without one error. Now, Tesla motors takes the lead in self- driving automobiles with the model S, complete with software that updates itself automatically to be able to guide passengers safely to their destinations, without the person in the “driver’s” seat ever having to touch the wheel.



·       Traffic accidents would dramatically decrease, because computers make no human errors.

·       Anyone would have access to this technology. Old people, children, people with disabilities, they could be in the driver’s seat and it would be fine, because the computer is the one in charge.

·       Ever go to the place that you were begging your parents for weeks to go to (we all did that at least once in our lifetimes) and you’re parents finally agreed to go, and when you get there, you see the thing that you've been dreading : a full parking lot. Well, if you had a driverless car, it could drop you off at wherever you wanted to go, and then when you’re done, it could come back and pick you up, therefore alleviating parking scarcity greatly.

·       All drivers know that a steady speed = more gas mileage. But, humans aren’t flawless. Sometimes, a human driver might accelerate too fast, or decelerate too fast, or just want to out the pedal to the metal just to get to wherever you want to go faster. The computer in an autonomous car would just accelerate and decelerate at an efficient rate and keep the car at the same speed (within the speed limit) all the way to your destination.


·       Firstly, security would be a major obstacle for companies, as driverless cars become more commonplace, the advanced technology in the car would become a major risk to hacking.

·       Then, the economy will come crashing down for a year or so. Job losses would be monumental, as professional drivers such as taxi drivers and lorry drivers. Also, for a short while, the price of these cars still are incomparably high compared to regular cars, so the majority of the middle class  would not be able to afford the majority of driverless cars. Not to mention the taxes going up for the government to be able to pay for stationing electronic sensors on every accessible road or highway.

·       Last but not least, all the directions and data the car gets are from real- time signals from satellites. If the signal were to be blocked, autonomous cars would be rendered useless until the problem is fixed.


People/ Corporations in This Field

      Google is possibly the most advanced corporation involved in the autonomous car business. As stated in the “history” part of this article, in the early 2000s, search engine giant Google hit the road by modifying Priuses and Lexuses to be able to drive themselves. Google’s new, innovative system has guided these cars millions of miles without one error. Although that is great and all, those are not cars that we’ll be seeing on the road a few years, or even months from now. Waymo, the newest of Google’s many prototypes, is completely able to be fully autonomous, but is not fully released to the public yet. Visit https://www.waymo.comfor more info. Last but (definitely) not least, self- made entrepreneur billionaire Elon Musk is the head of Zip2, X.com, PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla, Solar City, Hyperloop, OpenAI, Theboringcompany, The Musk Foundation and Neuralink. Tesla, one of Musk’s biggest and best companies, is pioneering to revolutionize driving. The Model S, already fully autonomous, has sold over 160000 carssince its upbringing in 2013. In 2016, Tesla has become a more valuable company than Ford!


I truly believe that autonomous cars are the future of transportation.

Well, not future. It’s already here.


Technology is nothing. What's important is that you have a faith in people, that they're basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they'll do wonderful things with them.

-        Steve Jobs




See more stories by Alex
Interesting! Although I

Interesting! Although I prefer horses to any transportation.

Posted by Brooke on Mon, 09/04/2017 - 10:46



Posted by Alex on Mon, 09/04/2017 - 11:27

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