The Next Big Auto Revolution – Autonomous Driverless Cars

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  • Nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year, on average 3,287 deaths a day.
  • An additional 20-50 million are injured or disabled.
  • More than half of all road traffic deaths occur among young adults ages 15-44.
  • Road traffic crashes rank as the 9th leading cause of death and account for 2.2% of all deaths globally.
  • Road crashes are the leading cause of death among young people ages 15-29, and the second leading cause of death worldwide among young people ages 5-14.
  • Each year nearly 400,000 people under 25 die on the world’s roads, on average over 1,000 a day.
  • Over 90% of all road fatalities occur in low and middle-income countries, which have less than half of the world’s vehicles.
  • Road crashes cost USD $518 billion globally, costing individual countries from 1-2% of their annual GDP.
  • Road crashes cost low and middle-income countries USD $65 billion annually, exceeding the total amount received in developmental assistance.

This, according to Association for Safe International Road Travel‘s Annual Global Road Crash Statistics.

Now imagine this:

You are in an Audi A7. With Miles Davis playing in the background, there you are, relaxing in the backseat of your car, watching your favourite movie, as the car stops, turns and maneuvers around the streets, following every instruction, as if driven by a seasoned driver. The only difference here is that, there is no driver. Welcome to the new age of fully automated, driverless technology!

The technical research & development team of every major player in the automotive industry is working overtime to develop the driverless technology, to outbeat each other for the product launch. In fact Audi & Toyota have already launched their models. With satellite connected devices, infrared projectors, high definition cameras and radars, the cars are every techie geek’s dream mobile.

But surprisingly it is Google’s prototype robot car “Stanley” that is leading the way. It is reported that “Stanley” has already driven 400,000 miles, in automatic mode, across different terrains in California.

Not to be outdone, Audi makers say that it prefers an “incremental approach” to adding technology layers to its cars so that not to overwhelm their customers, and so that they become comfortable with the technology. Audi demo-ed a self parking car at Las Vegas that found its own space at the parking lot.

Google’s Driverless Car

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The advantages of driverless technology will enable cars to run without human interference, reduce accidents, ease traffic jams, save fuel, thus revolutionizing road safety technology. With the increasing number of road accidents occurring every year mostly due to human error, autonomous cars will be a boon for reducing  death from such fatalities. There are however skeptics who think otherwise.

The autonomous technology will at least take a couple of years before its tried and tested and made available for the roads. Till then,the auto geeks amongst us, will just have to wait and get used to our adaptive cruise controls, until slowly but surely we enter the new age of Autonomous autonomy!

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