What the Tech?! Autonomus Vehicle

Driverless Car - Look, No Hands!

Automous Vehicle, n;

A self-driving car. This term seems obvious, but the fascinating part if what’s behind the technical ability to make driverless driving possible and who is working on developing the technology as we speak.

Google announced years ago that they were started a Self-Driving Car project, developing technology to create mostly-electric, self-driving vehicles. In December, they unveiled a working prototype that could be on the roads this year. Four states and Washington, D.C., have all passed legislation to allow this technology on the roads.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in early January, Mercedes showed off a luxurious car with an auto-driving option (as well as very swanky lounge-friendly seats), and Uber announced just this week that it, too, was investing in autonomous driving research with the Uber Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburg, PA. Google is an investor in Uber.

So, how does it work? In Google’s case (and probably similarly for Mercedes), the cars are equipped with lasers, which can read the environment around them in 3D to generate maps. The computer’s within the car follow those detailed maps to drive themselves and their passengers from point to point.

While the future for driverless cars is still a ways off, the research is fruitful. Transportation could be drastically different once this technology is ironed out and tested enough for the general public to use.