Are We Ready for Automated Driving?

15. October, 2014


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General Motors has announced that in two years, they will introduce a Cadillac with “Super Cruise” capable of “semi-automated driving” including hands-off lane following.  Combining radar, ultrasonic sensors, onboard cameras, and GPS data, the car would be “capable of semi-automated driving including hands-off lane following, braking and speed control under certain conditions.”


Bloomberg has a very good article on it here. Wow!  The future is two years away!  Are we ready for that?

While vehicle manufactures including Honda Motor Company’s Acura luxury line and Hyundai Motor Company offer cruise control that adjusts to the speed of cars ahead and automatic braking, GM has said that this is a “new type of driving experience.”

It is coming, we have all heard about Google’s “Self-Driving Car”, video here, and Michigan Department of Transportation is working on “Intelligent highways” with what “will be the largest deployment of connected vehicle and highway technology in the world.” Several vehicle manufacturers are working on V2V tech, a communication system that is intended to reduce traffic congestion and accidents by allowing similarly-equipped vehicles to communicate direction of travel, location, and speed.

Well…guess my age is showing, I remember very clearly when car manufacturers broke into the “space-age” with “CCC”, Computer Command Control, where a computer actually controlled the fuel mixture in the carburetor.  Do you remember carburetors?  The techs at the dealership where I was working at that time all shared the belief that “computers do not belong in cars.”  Well, guess time has illustrated the humor in that!

I find this fascinating and think it is going to be so interesting to watch this all unfold.  Technology keeps moving forward.  The first point-contact resistor was invented in 1947, the first working silicone transistor was produced by Texas Instruments in 1954.  Cheaper radios, computers, calculators…fast forward…self-driving cars?  I often wonder if those physicists had any idea what the were unleashing back then.  Seems we are only limited to our imagination as to what can be done with electronics.

SO…getting a bit long-winded here. I guess the question is, is this a good thing?  On one hand, we have seen the massive amount of vehicle recalls out there, on the other hand we see the problems we are facing with inattentive driving.  Time will tell if this is the answer or not, but one thing is certain –  technology has changed, and continues to change, our world at a very rapid pace.  Good or bad?

I have to wonder…in 30 years will this seem as antiquated as “CCC”?



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