THE AGE OF AUTONOMOUS CARS
The American company Tesla Automobiles has released a software update for their smart electric car Model S, which allows it to drive autonomously. That word "autonomously" is an important one. It means the car thinks for itself without you having to hold the steering wheel, put your foot on the brake or gas pedal. The car is already equipped with 16 sensors. It senses obstacles and cars with the waves the sensor produces. It is kind of like the ultrasonic waves produced by a bat, which allows it to sense objects in the dark. It also has lane changing assist, which allows the car to change lanes automatically. You just need to switch on your indicator, and you will change to your desired lane within seconds, all without touching the steering of the car.
Carmakers are keen to draw a distinction between autonomous cars and self-driving cars and with good reasons of self-interest. Autonomous cars will look like the vehicles we drive today, taking over from the driver under certain circumstances. Self-driving cars are a stage further on. The steering wheel will disappear completely and the vehicle will do all the driving using the same system of sensors, radar and GPS mapping that autonomous vehicles employ. While some personal cars will remain, a fleet of shared vehicles will likely fill the streets of towns and cities.
The main aim of introducing autonomous cars is to reduce the number of accidents, which topped in at 5,419,000 last year. Many people who drive regularly have problems like neck pain due to the stress. It relieves the driver of the task of navigating and driving, which makes the stress free. It can also increase the speed at which we reach places. The cars will go at higher speeds, as they will drive autonomously and will keep a safe distance between them even at high speeds.
This also opens opportunities for carpooling. Instead of one person going to work in one car, he could also call his friends to go in his car. This saves a lot of fuel and produces a less amount of CO2 emissions. When cars drive autonomously, this can be extended to a greater scale. After dropping a few people to work or any other place, it can go to collect more people and collect them too. This leads to a great reduction in the emission level.
The concept of autonomously driving cars, which has now almost become a reality, does not come without its own constrains. The car’s software or computer can malfunction, if it is not stable under high loads of information. This could potentially increase the risk of accidents. Current road infrastructure may also need to be changed to support these cars.
At the end of the road, all these developments show how much the human race has developed in the field of technology, and the ultimate aim is to reduce emissions and global warming. From a different perspective, global warming was the change that lead us to create many new technological developments as this. If we all adopt eco-friendly methods of transportation, along with other factors, we can turn the tables for the global warming effect and make the earth a better place to live in.