Published on March 4th, 2013 | by Christopher DeMorro
Video: Self-Driving Japanese Trucks Huddle Close For Fuel Savings
Since the invention of the so-called “automobile”, self-driving cars have never strayed far from the imagination of human beings. We finally appear to be on the cusp of seeing real progress in the world of autonomous vehicles, and as this next video of self-driving Japanese box trucks shows, the implications for both businesses and the environment are huge.
Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) has built a working prototype of self-driving truck technology. One human controller can lead three other robot-driven trucks, each one just 13 feet from the other. This allows the trucks to benefit from reduced air resistance, called “drafting” in the racing world, and can reduce fuel costs by as much as 15%.
Less fuel burned is good for the environment, and the close proximity of one truck to the other could help reduce traffic congestion as well. For businesses though, having to only pay one human driver, instead of four, could result in huge cost savings…though it does raise the ethical question of robots replacing human workers. This technology means three honest, good-paying jobs will no longer exist.
Even scarier, the NEDO system can even operate entirely autonomously, without the need of any human driver whatsoever. Other companies, like Google and Volvo, are pursuing self-driving cars for daily life, but businesses stand to benefit far more than the average consumer.
In a perfect world, robots would do all our chores while human beings pursued a life of leisure and culture. This writer thinks reality will be a lot uglier than that though.
Share your thoughts of self-driving cars below.
Source: The Verge