The driverless car, would you?


A driverless car, some say yes, some say no, however once again Google is involved and seems to become a pioneer in this field of technology. Why do I state this? I noticed that this year already 13 blog post are dedicated to Google, or at least Google is embedded in the title. Again an ode to Google when it comes to driverless cars.

Everyday people commute 50 minutes on average in the Netherlands (Dutchdailynews, 2010), multiplied by the 7,2 million workers (CBS, 2014), turns out to be 360 million wasted minutes everyday on commuting. Putting this in perspective by dividing it by the average life expectancy (nationaalkompas, 2012), turns out to be 8,5 lifetime spent everyday, getting from A to B. Not only time consuming, facts tell us that 1,2 million people are killed in traffic on the world road’s every year. That’s the same as a Boeing 737 falling out of the sky every working day. Traffic is getting worse, that’s not only in your brain it is true, we travel 40 percent more than in 1990 and roads grew by 6 percent (Urmson, 2015).

Human drivers make a mistake once every 100 000 miles leading to traffic accidents in the USA (Urmson, 2015). A driverless system makes decisions 10 times per second or in order of magnitude, 1000 times per mile. Showing that driverless systems would drastically reduce casualties in traffic, probably by 80 percent (Urmson, 2015). Driverless cars, and yes again I am going to use Google’s driverless car, they work with a map, Google maps. The map will be aligned with the sensors on the car so it knows exactly where it is in the world. A layer will be put on top with everything what it sees. Resulting in the picture below:

driverless car

The hardest part of course is to let the car react on unpredictable situations, such as a police cop waving you to stop or changed lanes because of a construction zone. Google’s simulators do 3 million miles of testing everyday to learn from these situations so the driverless system can cope with it in the future. Near future?

When we look at the stats and the facts in might be a really good solution to the many fatalities every year in traffic. Google is pretty convinced this technology will come to the market (Urmson, 2015). But are we willing to drive without a steering wheel?

This video shows that most of the people driving a driverless car,  do like it. But if I may speak for myself, I would not! I think many people are with me when I say that most (male) drivers like having a steering wheel in their hands. Still we are the ones willing to buy whether or not… Are you?

Sources:

Urmson C., 2015. ‘How a driverless car sees the road’,  ‘https://www.ted.com/talks/chris_urmson_how_a_driverless_car_sees_the_road, march 15, 2015

Dutchdailynews, 2010. ‘Dutch spent the most time on commuting of all Europeans’, http://www.dutchdailynews.com/commuting/, used on 6/10/2015

CBS, 2014. http://www.cbs.nl/nl-NL/menu/themas/arbeid-sociale-zekerheid/publicaties/barometer-beroepsbevolking/barometer-werkzame-beroepsbevolking-art.htm, used on 6/10/2015

Nationaalkompas, 2012. http://www.nationaalkompas.nl/gezondheid-en-ziekte/sterfte-levensverwachting-en-daly-s/levensverwachting/wat-is-in-nederland-de-levensverwachting/, used on 6/10/2015

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One response to “The driverless car, would you?”

  1. evavanbaarle says :

    Interesting blog! I think this will be a sensitive subject for most men, as with the existence of electric cars the sounds of the engine disappeared and now they are also going to lose the control of the steering wheel! However, even though I love to drive, I think it might be a great solution to avoid certain accidents. We would eliminate reckless and even drunk driving, as the driver is in charge anymore. While it will be a huge change in the automotive industry and in the way of daily travel, why not give up the control for once to save lives? I believe when I have to make a decision, I would.

    There is actually already an example that is very nearby! At Kralingse Zoom you can take a bus that is called the Parkshuttle. It is a computer-driven bus that drives between Kralingse Zoom and a business area near Capelle a/d Ijssel! Maybe you will change your opinion after a test drive?

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