The automotive industry is currently engaged in an all-out race to produce self-driving cars for everyday use throughout the world. Rory Angold, Executive Vice President at United Car Care, discusses the technology involved and what is just over the horizon in the race to be the first to the mass self-driving market.
Self-driving cars are an emerging technology that has almost every major automobile and technology giant in the world involved in a massive race to market the wide variety of products and services that look to be just around the corner. Apple, Google, and the manufacturing strongholds in Detroit and other automotive hubs are competing to develop and deliver the monumental changes that autonomous cars promise. The entire concept of what building a car means is being thought of anew for the first time in over a century. The potential impact on worldwide infrastructure rivals the development of railroads, air travel, and ubiquitous electric service. Self-driving cars are expected to change road and land use in fundamental ways while revolutionizing the transportation of people and products.
Self-driving cars are dependent on advanced sensors and camera devices. Current technologies involving collision warnings, blind-spot monitoring, and lane maintenance warnings are the shape of the future of sensory devices for autonomous cars. Workable sensory devices are conceivable that will greatly exceed human capacity for the range and scope of environmental monitoring. Sensory detection technology is expected to include radar, lasers, and ultrasonic technology.
Autonomous vehicular traffic on a large scale will require significant advances in connectivity and communication capabilities. Self-driving cars must have access to traffic and weather conditions at all times, as well as hazards from construction, accidents, and nearby cars. Connectivity will need to be scaled on macro and micro levels to deal with long-range issues as well as immediate obstacles, hazards, and vulnerable surrounding cars, people, and animals.
Large scale autonomous transportation systems will also require advances in software, artificial intelligence, and machine learning systems. Every vehicle’s systems must be able to simultaneously handle decision making on speed, acceleration, braking, steering, and emergency measures. The algorithms necessary for this level of real-time operation must be extremely robust and resilient against faults and failures.
As autonomous traffic becomes a reality, governmental regulatory and infrastructure agencies will have to develop systems that integrate private intellectual property and development with control, maintenance, and safety systems. It seems most likely that some partnership that balances private development with roadway use and upkeep will be necessary, although it is currently impossible to predict how the competing interests will be balanced.
While specific outcomes are impossible to predict currently, it is certain that the changes that driverless automobile technology will bring to the world in the near future will have fundamental effects on virtually every industry and social structure.
About Rory Angold
Rory Angold has spent the past 20 years assuming leadership and executive positions within various companies. Mr. Angold worked with Zurich North America, managing and more importantly developing field teams in California, Nevada, Hawaii, Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming. His goal was to connect with automotive dealers and industry partners to help them increase their wealth while managing risks and protecting their assets. Mr. Angold is now serving as Executive Vice President at United Car Care, a company that offers vehicle service contracts that provide reliable protection at an affordable cost.
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