A driverless car
A driverless car, also known as a self-driving car is an autonomous car
which can perform the actions of the human being, as if a man were driving a
traditional car. We can say that the car is independent of the human as the car only
needs to be programmed with the destination. The mechanical part of the vehicle is
held by the car its own. Moreover, to function, the car has some specific
technology, for example laser, radar, GPS and computer vision. An example of an
approved case of self-driving cars can be Google’s.
In 2011 the state of Nevada was the first jurisdiction in the United States to
pass a law concerning the operation of driverless cars. This law was turned into
effect by March 2012 and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles gave the first
license for a self-driven car in May 2012. This license was given to Google’s car
which was in this case a Toyota Prius. Google got involved with this issue as it is
trying to develop technology for driverless vehicles. In addition, the project is
currently being led by Google engineer Sebastian Thrun, director of the Stanford
Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the co-inventor of Google Street View. To
develop this system, Google also had to hire 15 engineers.
This topic about self-driving cars involves also other issues such as
hardware and software, social and ethical issues and the social impact.
As regards hardware and software involved, it integrates Google Maps with
various hardware sensors and artificial intelligence software so as to take its
passengers where they want safely and comfortably. Google Maps provides the
car with road information; the hardware sensors provide the vehicle with real time
environment conditions and the artificial intelligence software provides the car with
real time decisions. Google Maps interacts with the GPS and acts as a database.
In addition, it is in charge of looking for speed limits, upcoming intersections, traffic
reports, nearby collisions and directions.
Concerning hardware, we have to take in
account that it uses an array of sensors to
navigate public roads without a human
driver, and many other components.
Google’s Toyota Prius possesses a lidar,
which is a rotating sensor on the roof that
scans more than 200 feet in all directions to
generate a precise three-dimensional map
of the car’s surroundings; a position