We all might have thought that we would have flying cars by now, but sadly we haven’t made it that far yet. However, we still have some incredibly impressive technology in our cars now that we never dreamed would exist. Our cars are starting to think! What we mean by this, is we now have cars with artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence (or A.I.) are computer systems that can do things that usually would require human intelligence such as voice recognition, visual perception, and decision making. You might have been in a vehicle that has an assistant built into it. If not, many newer cars are being manufactured with a helper build in sort of like Siri; she makes phone calls when you tell her to or she can pull up your favorite channels on Pandora, making your commute safer since you don’t need to look away from the road to complete these actions.
A.I. is already showing that it makes driving safer for us through voice recognition, but now things are getting even more impressive. Though the dream of the self-driving car has been around basically ever since cars were invented, we didn’t really see any major success stories until Google secretly started a project called Waymo. They hired artificial intelligence experts who developed a self-driving car (without a steering wheel) that successfully drove 300,000 miles without an accident, and then they released a prototype of the driverless car that had driven more than 2 million miles by the end of 2014.
In 2013, many major automotive companies such as Ford, General Motors, Mercedes Benz, Nissan, and BMW made their own models with auto-driving capabilities. Nissan even committed to launching a driverless car in 2020, so we will see what the future holds!
That goes without saying that there are many out there who are worried about trusting a machine and it’s new technologies with our lives. The first fatality in a self-driving vehicle happened in 2016 in Tesla’s Model S electric car when a tractor-trailer made a left turn in front of the car, and it failed to apply the brakes. This raises the question, are self-driving cars actually safe?
Some may argue that it’s easier to trust a machine than it is to trust human judgment, but so far the fatality rate is surprisingly low. There is always room for improvement, but with more and more cars on the road with A.I. it is possible that one day they might be all connected in a system that communicates potential accidents ahead. Who knows, with all of this happening we may not even be driving for much longer!