Right now, chauffeurs are a luxury that only the very wealthy can afford. For most drivers, sitting behind the wheel means staying focused on the road. You can’t text or put on makeup. In some areas, it’s illegal to eat or drink while you drive. Even changing the radio station can distract a driver and cause an accident. What if everyone could afford the luxury of a chauffeur? In the future, self-driving cars may free us from the “tyranny” of the wheel.
A Sensible Alternative
Recall that artificial neural networks are computational models that can be “trained” to detect patterns in data and make predictions. These networks consist of a group of nodes, each of which performs a mathematical operation to simulate the way the brain processes information and makes decisions. The same polynomial neural networks that can control a robot or predict a malaria outbreak may be out driving cars by 2020. Google has pioneered a self-driving car, a prototype of which is shown below. The Nissan Motor Company and automaker Daimler AG have vowed to bring them to Europe and Asia in less than a decade. In 25 years, self-driving cars may be the norm. By using polynomial neural networks and systems of lasers, engineers have trained the cars to recognize traffic signals, signs, and obstacles. The cars’ computers can differentiate between an obstacle to avoid, like a pedestrian, and an obstacle to ignore, like road kill. The cars each carry at least 6 sensors and use polynomials to interpret the world around them.
Most of the technology for self-driving cars is already on the market today—automakers just have to put it all together into one system. For instance, high-end Mercedes cars already are capable of driving themselves in traffic jams. This allows the driver to read or relax in stop-and-go traffic. Researchers have also found that self-driving cars are safer and more efficient than cars driven by people. Once governments address the legal issues involved, every car may soon come equipped with a built-in driver.
Watch the first video to learn about more “smart car” technology already in use today. Check out the video at the next link for more about the benefits of self-driving cars, and see some prototypes in action in the last clip.