News / Science & Technology

    Self-Driving Cars Are Just Around the Corner

    Self-Driving Cars Are Just Around the Corneri
    X
    George Putic
    January 14, 2016 10:46 PM
    After half a decade of hard times, U.S. car manufacturers sold more automobiles last year to American customers than ever before. The cars Americans are driving are more fuel-efficient and typically loaded with electronic devices. But within a decade, manufacturers say drivers should expect semi-autonomous and fully autonomous cars that will make driving safer and less tiring. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    George Putic

    After half a decade of hard times, U.S. car manufacturers sold more automobiles last year to American customers than ever before. The cars Americans are driving are more fuel-efficient and typically loaded with electronic devices. But within a decade, manufacturers say drivers should expect semi-autonomous and fully autonomous cars that will make driving safer and less tiring.

    In 2004 U.S. military research agency DARPA challenged automotive engineers to try to build a self-driving car. Though the course had only simple obstacles and no other traffic, none of the vehicles reached the end.

    Twelve years later the technology has advanced so far that manufacturers are testing it on roads with real traffic, trying to make it absolutely safe for both passengers and pedestrians.

    “I figured if I was able to make a car that was smart enough to drive itself, I could probably make a car that was smart enough to be a bit safer. So from my perspective, safety has always been our priority," said Ford's James McBride.

    Google admits that its experimental self-driving cars have had some close calls, but points out that in late 2014 incidents happened once every 1,300 kilometers, while last year they happened once every 8,500 kilometers.

    And it's not just about the safety, manufacturers also have to make sure consumers are willing to let go of the wheel.

    “We don't want to go too far too fast because the customer may not be expecting that. There's a learning curve that has to take place," said Kia's Joseph Steffey.

    One thing that can help customers get used to not being in control is the driving simulator. Wearing virtual reality goggles drivers can experience the sensation of being passive behind the steering wheel.

    Some cars are already equipped with electronics stemming from the DARPA Grand Challenge, such as laser proximity sensors, video cameras, lane-change warning lights and other devices.

    Researchers say future cars will also be able to communicate with the world around them, such as pedestrians’ smart phones.

    “We can see where that pedestrian is walking, and then we can actually pick them up if they walk out in front of the car, and the car will choose to stop," said Steffey.

    Experts say that safe and affordable self-driving cars should be available to the average consumer within four to five years.

    You May Like

    US Internet Giants, EU Reach Deal to Combat Online Hate Speech

    Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft commit to ‘quickly and efficiently’ act to clamp down on use of social media to incite violence, terror

    Video Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Begins a New Political Chapter

    Party now moves to separate its political and religious activities; change described by party members as pragmatic response to political and economic challenges facing Tunisia today

    Virtual Reality Fine-tuned at Asia Tech Show

    Microchip designers hope to improve resolution for users of systems that can turn your bedroom into the ocean floor

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora