Tuesday, October 09, 2018

What your next car may look like

I'm not sure we're ready for cars that drive themselves, but they're coming. Here are three indications.

Look ma, no steering wheel. Cars without steering wheels will be allowed under certain conditions, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said. Two bills in Congress aim to achieve such goals on a national level, in many cases overruling states and localities.

The Congress should know: It seems to drive itself without a steering wheel.

How about a signal, pal? It’s not enough for a robocar to play nicely with others—it must also be seen to be playing nicely. And that will happen only if the industry can agree on a standard for communication, the Ford Motor Company said. The standard would go beyond the wireless one that cars use to talk to each other; it would include a visual component. That way, pedestrians and drivers of cars without transceivers can see right away what the robocar intends to do.

What if it doesn't know what it wants to do?

What stop light, officer? New technology allows cars to collaborate, using their onboard communications capabilities, to keep traffic flowing smoothly and safely without the use of any traffic lights whatsoever. It is time to ditch the traffic light. We have nothing to lose except countless hours sitting in our cars while going nowhere.

Watch this ... here, hold my beer.

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