One of the most amazing stories in automotive electronics
arrived almost out of the blue: autonomous vehicles. In the grand
technological scheme of things, it's been a complete and utter surprise and
represents a stunning disruption of conventional wisdom--all while
it leverages affordable, here-now electronics technology.
In February, Nevada announced regulations for self-driving cars;
California followed suit with legislation that paves the way to
making it easier for autonomous vehicles to operate on Golden State
started making headlines in 2011 during
field tests, and reportedly the car was involved in just two
accidents in more than 100,000 miles of driving--both incidents due
to human error.
The beauty of driverless systems is that the technology exists
today, with elements such as back-up cameras, radar and sensors
already common features in many contemporary vehicle models.
Technologist, educator and writer Vivek Wadhwa says the impact of
driverless cars on our world will
be profound and far-reaching
: "It changes urban planning
forever." Parking is pushed to less-expensive, outer-ring portions
of densely populated cities because you can send your car out to
park once you've stepped out and summon it back. Need to grab a cup
of coffee? Pop out of your car and have it drive around the block
until you're ready.
California Gov. Jerry Brown (far left) with Google founder Sergey Brin (dark glasses) and an unidentified man next to a driverless car.