Cadillac have claimed that semi-self-driving cars will be available by 2020.
Hype surrounding driverless cars has been building for years, and car-makers, Cadillac, have predicted that we’ll be using them in this decade. The vehicles they’re expecting us to be using, however, aren’t entirely autonomous and they’ll still require the driver’s attention.
Cadillac, a division of General Motors, has tested its Super Cruise technology on real roads as well as on closed courses. Super Cruise uses GPS data, cameras and ultrasonic sensors to direct the vehicle in certain situations.
Unlike Google’s driverless car, which is capable of inner-city driving, Super Cruise technology is designed for highway driving only, allowing the driver to go hands-free whilst on the move. Cadillac’s driverless technology is able to brake, follow traffic and control speeds without driver intervention, and is designed to take some of the pressure off the driver on long journeys.
The driver, however, will need to remain alert and ready to take over control as Super Cruise will depend upon weather conditions, traffic flow and specific road conditions. The system relies upon road markings for orientation, so, on roads with no markings, the driver will need to take over manual control.
Driverless cars and road safety
Self-driving technology has been developed quite extensively over the past few years, and with technologies like cruise control and lane assist already on our roads, an entirely autonomous car may not be as far away as it sounds.
One of the main reasons behind the development of driverless technology is to reduce road traffic collisions, and with a reported 90% of all accidents being due to human error, it seems to be a logical solution. In fact, Google have recently claimed that their driverless car could save almost 30,000 lives on U.S. highways, whilst preventing almost 2 million injuries.
In order for these numbers to be turned into a reality, however, the technology must be reliable and there is no room for it to malfunction. There’s also the question of who is liable in a car accident involving self-driving cars.
Aside from that, throwing self-driving cars into the mix on already overcrowded roads could cause serious traffic flow problems. Driverless cars may be designed to take the stress out of driving, but introducing them to our roads may take a few more years of planning yet.
Image via Bekathwia.
Last modified: 30th April 2013