Driver­less fu­ture

Finweek English Edition - - INSIGHT - Blair Burmeis­ter

Ford, Audi, Mercedes, Toy­ota and Volvo have also ex­pressed their in­ter­est in de­vel­op­ing the tech­nol­ogy, as the cost comes down.

Elon Musk, the South African ex­pat bil­lion­aire who is CEO and chief prod­uct ar­chi­tect of elec­tric ve­hi­cle com­pany Tesla Mo­tors, is try­ing his hand, too, and has made the prom­ise that his com­pany will pro­duce a driver­less ve­hi­cle within the next three years.

How­ever, his three-year time­line is more am­bi­tious than those set out by other car mak­ers. An­a­lysts say that it will take 10 to 15 years be­fore self-driv­ing cars be­come a re­al­ity. BEN­E­FITS OF AU­TON­O­MOUS DRIV­ING

the most ex­cit­ing prospect will be the sav­ings that could be made us­ing driver­less de­liv­ery ve­hi­cles that would cut out the cost of em­ploy­ing driv­ers.

Not hav­ing to con­cen­trate on driv­ing could also make the car yet an­other ex­ten­sion of the of­fice, open­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of ef­fi­cient re­mote work­ing while com­mut­ing by road.

fully au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cle tech- nol­ogy has the po­ten­tial to re­duce crashes, ease con­ges­tion, im­prove fuel econ­omy, re­duce park­ing needs, bring mo­bil­ity to those un­able to drive, and dra­mat­i­cally change the na­ture of travel over time.

Road ac­ci­dents are one of the top three lead­ing causes of death glob­ally. On av­er­age, there are 13 802 fa­tal­i­ties per an­num in SA; the es­ti­mated cost of these road crashes (per an­num) is R307bn, which is 7.8% of SA’s GDP.

Thrun helped build Google’s driver­less car, pow­ered by a per­sonal quest to save lives and re­duce traf­fic ac­ci­dents. As he re­peat­edly men­tions in his TED Talk, the mass adop­tion of a self­driv­ing car may lead to more ef­fi­cient and ac­ci­dent-free roads. SELF-DRIV­ING TECH­NOL­OGY EX­PLAINED Thrun ex­plained to The Huff­in­g­ton Post in an in­ter­view: “The car tech­nol­ogy we have been work­ing on at Google uses radar, GPS, cam­eras, a rapidly spin­ning Li­dar laser, and other de­vices to nav­i­gate prop­erly and un­der­stand a com­plex driv­ing en­vi­ron­ment.”

Google hopes its driver­less cars will re­duce traf­fic ac­ci­dents by 90%, re­duce wasted com­mute time and en­ergy by 90% and re­duce the num­ber of cars on the road by 90%.

Po­ten­tial ben­e­fits are sub­stan­tial but sig­nif­i­cant bar­ri­ers to full im­ple­men­ta­tion and mass-mar­ket adop­tion still re­main. Of course, along with in­di­vid­u­al­ity, pri­vacy would be sac­ri­ficed, since each car or pod would now be a piece of data with its move­ments con­stantly be­ing tracked.

Nis­san’s Au­ton­o­mous Drive ve­hi­cle

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.