Will Automated Cars Save The World?

We all think we are great drivers. It is everybody else who sucks at driving. Well the truth is, we’re all pretty awful, America, and it terrifies me to know that there are many people out there behind the wheel of a two-ton bullet just waiting to end my life. But vehicle automation could do more than just reduce accidents; it could save fuel on a huge scale.

A Work In Progress

From Google to the European Union, companies and countries the world over are looking into the automation of automobiles, taking driving out of the driver’s hand. Even GM with their EN-V program is looking to automate most aspects of personal transportation. This is not a new idea either; the concept of a car that drives itself has been around almost as long as cars themselves. Implementation is not going to happen overnight either…but with the amount of technology in today’s cars and the accesibility of GPS system, making cars talk to each other in an effective way is looking more and more like a reality every day.

Among the benefit of vehicle automation would be a reduction in congestion, as cars could communication about traffic jams. Indeed, many traffic situations are caused by just a handful of bad drivers, or an accident, or rubber-necking. In other words, it isn’t the car’s fault…it is ours. The reduction in traffic alone could result in huge fuel savings, as people don’t waste gas idling and blasting the A/C. Vehicle automation could also regulate speed for optimal fuel economy during acceleration and stopping.  I never understood why people felt the need to race to a red light. Let that car roll brother!

Making That Fuel Count

But one of the potentially most fuel-saving features is one that many cars are starting to integrate; self-parking features. But going one step beyond today’s cars that can park themselves, future systems could be integrated with parking-spot monitors that could inform drivers of an open space. No more driving in circles, hoping for a spot that isn’t six miles from your destination.

The future holds a lot of promise…but not without some caveats. Maybe once I’ve been relegated to a nursing home, I’ll let a computer do my driving for me. But not a moment before.

How about you readers? Would you ever be comfortable with a computer taking over the driving for you? Or are you a control freak like me?

Source: Technology Review

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.