Are we ready for self driving cars?



Over the past few months we’ve been hearing more and more about the self-driving or autonomous car. Automotive, Internet, smartphone, and various other tech companies are devoting R&D resources to address the many technical hurdles lying between the current state of affairs and a car that allows you to read the latest Hollywood gossip or checking your favorite teams sports scores while zipping through traffic, chauffeuring you to work.

To make this a reality there are a few issues that must be addressed. Cars must possess the ability to recognize road nuances & infrastructure (curves, stoplights, speed limits, bridges, tunnels, curbs, etc) and other vehicles including bicycles, motorcycles, and semis. These problems are being addresses by vehicle-to-vehicle communications (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications (V2I). V2V and V2I are also referred to as V2X. The safety-critical portions are addressed by advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

The V2V and ADAS portions can be addressed by automobile manufacturers partnering with specific companies and passing along their costs to the consumer through the sales price, but the last portion truly has me stumped. Who picks up the cost of the V2I? It seems there would need to be a standard applied so a car driving cross-country or cross-border could do so seamlessly. While this may seem trivial, the software supporting V2I must recognize differences in school zone speed limits, a change from mph to kph, or speed changes for construction zones.

While the prospect of a autonomous vehicle is exciting, there are many issues to be addressed before it can become a reality.

To read more about the automotive software behind autonomous driving and QNXs participation, here is a good resource.  (thx RoboCop!)

Why don’t you let us know your thoughts in the comments.






kayaker co-pilot Tucson, it's a dry heat!

  • fishlove73

    Yeah…I’m not ready for it yet. I’m too much of a control freak. I don’t trust the other x factors that come along with driving…black ice, snow, other drivers etc…to many variables unaccounted for. Then there’s opportunities for other things to go wrong…viruses, equipment failures etc…nope…not for me. Even in a cab, bus etc…I would rather trust another human being able to compensate for equipment failure vs the alternative of a camera or sensor malfunctioning at high speed.

  • dammad

    The perfect car for the perfect world, they haven’t made the perfect world yet so this car can’t fit in.
    Wonder what the car would do if a river burst it’s bank, would it drive into the flooded road which is on its map?
    If the edge of a road collapses will the car be able to avoid that? If there’s a pothole what happens? a piece of rock or piece of wood let’s say falls from a truck what happens then? Just the other night I was driving along a country road and a strong gust had blown a tree down across the road but not touching the road, it was about the height of the car roof, I was able to carefully drive under it and avoid any branches so none came through the wind screen. I have looked in the rear view mirror and seen a vehicle that wasn’t going to stop and was able to move into a position that was safe, that would not be possible in such a car.
    Not for me thank you!

  • alan510

    Road conditions, pedestrians and obstacles are all challenges to the self-driving car. But here’s why it might not fly. Who ever drives the speed limit unless there’s a cop around?

  • dermit

    They’d probably be OK for people who can’t drive, over here in the UK we have people who just cannot pass the driving test, some of them have taken the test 50 times or more and still cannot pass, I’m inclined to say that those people should stay off the road as they are not getting the message, so , driverless cars may appeal to them,not for me though.

  • Anthony

    Driverless cars could have some cool uses.

    Fetching your car. E.g I’m at the airport and I fetch my car from home.

    I could exit my car at the front entrance to a building and the car could find its own parking space and park.

    Remote control the car with your BB10 device.

    Taking-over driving controls if I’m in a traffic jam or slow moving traffic.

    It would be great to get information from traffic lights so the car can adjust speed to prevent stopping.

    In city downtown areas where traffic is slower, autonomous taxi cabs would be cool. Some cities are already experimenting with this.

    • Anthony

      Also, autonomous cars could teach some people how to drive properly. locco_smiley_39

      It could prevent people blasting through yellow lights or entering when the light is red.

      If the driver is really a moron and breaks numerous driving laws the autonomous car could takeover…until the driver says “sorry” and promises to be a better driver. locco_smiley_35

  • bartron

    I already have a technology that allows me to check the scores of my favourite sports teams while being chauffeured to work. It’s called ‘public transit’. It’s been around for quite a while, and works great. But it does have some problems. It needs to be feasible in low-population areas, more efficient, cheaper, profitable, and more frequent.

    Cars are least needed in urban areas. More than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas, and that percentage is increasing. Thus, if Google really wants to make the world a better place, as they’ve claimed, then they should spend their money on solving those problems with public transit before trying to build self-driving cars.