When we used to look into the future we thought that there would one day be flying cars or a car that could take you back in time, as shown in the well-known film Back to the Future. This may not be the reality of today, however we do have the possibility of being able to get into a car and have it drive all by itself, something that we may have seen in films such as Herbie and James Bond as well as the television series Knight Rider.
Over the past few years there has been talk of the driverless car on programmes such as Top Gear. We have already seen cars being released with cruise control so that all the driver has to do is steer the car and be aware of what is around them. There have also been cars produced with automatic breaking as well as automatic parking, so that the car is able to park itself. As the knowledge and technology has expanded it has come together to make the idea of the driverless or autonomous car become reality.
In May, Google announced that they will be producing 100 autonomous cars. Unlike other driverless car, the Google car is built without a steering wheel or pedals, it simply just has a start/stop button. Manufacturing cars without a steering wheel or pedals will still need further testing for safety, until other producers remove the steering wheel and pedals. Google are using their technology in other cars such as Audi and Lexus , however other car manufacturers such as BMW and General Motors are using their own technology which they have developed.
The driverless car is built using lots of lasers, sensors and even cameras on the outside of the car to sense how far away the car is from other vehicles, pedestrians and other objects that may be in the road.
The driverless car is steered by GPS and satellite systems. Currently autonomous cars are being tested on private and unused roads, however from next year they will be allowed onto public roads. As from the beginning of 2015, we may see the driverless car on many public roads, be behind them at the traffic lights or maybe even be in one ourselves seeing what it is like.
So is the production of a driverless car actually going to benefit the world, or is this something to make people less wary of what is around them by putting all of their trust into the car. It may also mean that in the near future, young drivers will be able to get into a car and drive it without having to take a driving test as there will be little responsibility for the driver in a driverless car. There are times where we may want the car to drive itself, for example times where we are stuck in a queue on the motorway, or times where we are feeling too sleepy to drive, but the question is how safe can these driverless cars be and will it take away the whole driving experience of being at the wheel of a car. It is said that the driverless car will still have an option for the driver to still drive the car manually, for those car enthusiasts who enjoy the experience of driving a car. How successful the driverless car will be is only something the future holds, the autonomous car will initially be quite expensive therefore it may take a few years for the price to be affordable to the public to buy.