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The future of our roads?

Despite the fluctuating nature of time approximations, driverless cars finally depart from the realm of science fiction and encounter the roads. The buzz surrounding these cars came to an inert standstill but this was short lived with the appearance of one avant-garde pod devised by tech heavyweight Google.

New-fangled design and simplicity seem to be driving forces behind this concept. Equipped with a “Lidar” (laser radar) sensor that boasts an impressive 360° view of the roads which enables it to spot oncoming hazards with ease. 3D maps inbuilt into its memory system provide an analysis of surroundings. The cars “eyes” function as headlights and the “nose” as a one of the laser sensors. To kick-start the motor press green for go. Simple enough. Exhibiting some of the inner complexities highlights the basic but somewhat amiable outer shell this prototype dons. Morphing familiar human features with technology switched these cars from something to be apprehensive about to a prospect to anticipate.

Google are currently on the look out for those who specialise in vehicle safety to help run tests. The application boundaries were made clear, mainly stipulating imperative confidentiality. Adding to their routine ambiguity Google’s proves successful at remaining tight-lipped and enigmatic undoubtedly capturing our attention. Despite almost automatically being hailed by the media as the front-runner many other companies have been busy hoping to pip Google to the post.  The likes of Tesla have announced their take on autonomous vehicles will be ready in 5-6 years time meanwhile Volkswagen contribute though the development of technologies focused on automated parking with their project “V-charge”. Adoption of autonomous vehicles would mean come as a massive plus for numerous companies including the global taxi app Uber who have teamed up with the University of Arizona aiming to develop optic technology. It seems like this is a bandwagon worth jumping on.

Opinions stem from both ends of the spectrum. A degree of unease is justified; those against raise concerns pertaining not only to motoring. One of the main issues raised was the fear that attached to these cars is the danger of hacking. Instating further doubt into critic minds reports of a Google car crashing suggest that the technology required for success is out of reach for the near future. Not all of the Cons attributed with driverless cars carry such severity, for car enthusiasts their car is an extension of themselves each with their own individual personality. Unless designs for the autonomous vehicle greatly expand then it won’t be a car lover’s cup of tea.

Those giving these vehicles thumbs up highlight the opportunity for those that have disabilities to have improved access to the roads. It is also proposed that the safeness of roads would be vastly improved if autonomous vehicles became the norm. The likelihood of accidents and motoring offences occurring due to human error would reduce opening the possibility of law changes. Plus, driverless alternatives would mean would eliminate the burden of passing that pesky driving test. We’d like to know what you think, would you take your hands off the wheel?

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