The driverless car is here. Sometimes referred to as “autonomous cars”, they are on the roads, in the parking lots, and could be in your neighbor’s garage if you happen to live in or around Silicon Valley. Like it or not, in other words, cars that drive themselves are a thing that exists today – and I, for one, couldn’t be happier!
The driverless car revolution started several years ago at DARPA, but really started gaining steam with the Google Car. Now, other companies and automakers are jumping on the bandwagon … and the impact of this new trend could be massive.
Consider parking. Parking – in a major US city like New York, Boston, or Chicago – is a disaster. The endless driving to find a parking spot, the traffic hold-ups caused by the inexplicable inability of 75% of Americans to parallel park, and the cost of parking all add up to frustrations and time wasted. Using a combination of GPS and drive-by-wire technologies, the driverless car could just drop you off at your desired location and go find a parking spot on its own. Then, when you are ready to be picked up, again using GPS technology, you could go and find your car or the car could come to you.
That’s not science fiction, that’s a Volvo.
Even the frustration of traffic lights even becomes a thing of the past. Instead of being stuck behind someone with the visual stimulus/physical response time of a tree sloth who waits until the car ahead of them gets 2 car-lengths ahead before they start rolling, fleets of self-driving cars could move safely through intersections immediately as the light turns, down roads lined with sensors.
The possibilities and benefits are only limited to your imagination.
Last year, Governor of California Jerry Brown signed legislation paving the way for driverless cars making California the third state to allow the cars on the road. Federal agencies are even starting to consider their impact. In May the Transportation Department made its first formal policy statement on driverless vehicles and encouraged American cities to allow testing of driverless cars.
Google execs expect to see the driverless car in dealerships sometime around 2017.
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison