The Google Driverless Car

1098 words | 4 page(s)

Imagine pulling up to a stoplight, and taking a few seconds to glance over at the car in the next lane and seeing another vehicle without a person sitting behind the steering wheel, vehicle idling, and then moving forward when the light turns green. This is the possibility offered by the Google car, an innovative project that may well revolutionize the automobile industry (Vance, 2013.) This paper will discuss Google”s self-driving car, covering the advantages and disadvantages of this amazing technology as well is the issues that it raises for motorists, insurance companies, and other stakeholders.

The Google driverless car is considered to be “an autonomous driving project” designed to create a car that can drive itself without needing a driver to be inside; this would allow people to send their cars home if they can’t find parking spaces or are too intoxicated to drive (Diedrich, 2013.) Such vehicles are expected to be ready in between three and five years. Some people believe that this timeline might not be realistic, since that schedule will certainly be dependent on the role that the government chooses to play regarding regulations of these cars. The driverless car, which has been demonstrated by the company, comes with a $65,000 laser sensor on the roof as well as other equipment including radar sensors in the front and rear bumpers, a high-definition camera that scans out from the windshield, and another one that views the passengers inside the car (Muller, 2013.)

puzzles puzzles
Your 20% discount here.

Use your promo and get a custom paper on
"The Google Driverless Car".

Order Now
Promocode: custom20

The total cost for this extra technology is approximately $100,000, and it accumulates tremendous amounts of information; for example, the laser takes 1.5 million range measurements/second. A detailed graphic showing all of the automobiles around the car appears on the instrument panel. This accessory is so finely tuned that it is able to detect a motorcycle that is weaving in between other vehicles even though it was moving outside of clearly defined lanes. In addition, it has the capacity to notify the passengers when a car is tailgating dangerously close by. The car also has the capability to create a 3-D map as well is to apply custom algorithms; it can also figure out a safe driving route within seconds (Tweney, 2013.)

The first hurdle towards the goal of putting the self driving cars on the road was overcome in 2012, when the California Senate unanimously passed a bill allowing the operation of such vehicles on roads within the state (Hill, 2012.) The previous year, Nevada had also passed legislation that allowed operating these vehicles legally, but the California bill allowed the DMV as well as the California Highway Patrol to set safety and performance standards for driverless cars. These laws set the stage for licensing of the vehicles as well as free access for public operation in the near future.

However, there are certainly some challenges involved in having this technology become operational. For example, getting the self-driving car approved for use of public highways everywhere, not just group of states that allow self-driving cars for test purposes, would be a significant project (Howard, 2013.) In addition, driverless cars would need to demonstrate that they are able to function independently, cope with jaywalkers and other obstacles on the road, have the capability to stop or slow down if another car runs a red light, and have the ability to quickly address glitches in the software involved in the technology.

There are other potential problems involved in driverless cars: one such obstacle involves the challenge of driving in snow, because when the roads are covered with snow vehicles frequently have difficulty seeing the lane divisions as well as other cues that they depend on to correctly navigate the road (Blodgett, 2013.) In addition, another challenge would occur when the car comes across some change in the road that does not appear on its mapping system, potentially causing the car to become lost. Finally, if driverless cars are traveling through construction zones, accident zones, or other scenarios where people are directing traffic with hand signals, the vehicles may easily become confused and react in ways that can be dangerous to other drivers and pedestrians. Another question that is unanswered about driverless vehicles is the way in which they will affect insurance premiums for such cars. It is conceivable that the premiums would be lower because of the lack of involvement in humans in the operation of these vehicles, but not necessarily: possibly, insurance companies could use the issue as a way to increase costs to drivers because of the aforementioned difficulties when, say, they are on the road and become “confused” by changing situations.

The idea of the driverless car is extremely appealing to Futurists who believe in their potential to radically change the future of transportation (Basulto, 2013.) In addition, people who are worried about driving safety are positive about these vehicles because they can potentially reduce accidents and MVA deaths; conservationists are extremely enthusiastic about these cars because of their potential to reduce the carbon footprint, and urban planners are especially excited about these vehicles because they will likely be able to cut down on congestion and traffic gridlock. Perhaps the biggest obstacle for the future of the driverless car is a psychological one, i.e., convincing people that robots that are traveling on the highways, communicating with each other via satellites and sensors, are actually safer alternatives when compared with people who are driving on the roads, making cell phone calls and texting. In order to change the mindset of drivers to accommodate the driverless vehicle, people would need to be convinced that the future that consists of this technology would be better and safer because more lives would be saved and less gasoline would be used. This would allow tremendous opportunities for advertising companies to expand into a whole new area of public relations campaigns.

  • Basulto, D. (2013, April 9). Has the Time Finally Come for the Driverless Car? Retrieved from The Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/innovations/post/has-the-time-finally-come-for-the-driverless-car/2013/04/09/1fe1272c-a10d-11e2-bd52-614156372695_blog.html
  • Blodgett, H. (2013, March 3). Here Are Some of the Problems Google Is Having with Its Self-Driving Cars. Retrieved from Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/google-self-driving-car-problems-2013-3
  • Diedrich, J. (2013, April 14). The Google Car, 3-D Printing, and Bitcoin. Retrieved from The Washington Times: http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/business-living/2013/apr/14/google-car-3d-printing-and-bitcoin-great-innovatio/
  • Hill, D. (2012, September 7). Self-Driving Cars from Google on the Road to Approval in California. Retrieved from The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/google-car
  • Howard, B. (2013, February 8). Google: Self Driving Car in 3 to 5 Years, Feds: Not so Fast. Retrieved from Extreme Tech: http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/147940-google-self-driving-cars-in-3-5-years-feds-not-so-fast

puzzles puzzles
Attract Only the Top Grades

Have a team of vetted experts take you to the top, with professionally written papers in every area of study.

Order Now