Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Robot cars

Think of a car as a robot.  It has to perform certain functions, such as start, turn, speed up, slow down, park, all of which can be performed by a robot, with sensors.  It should not be necessary to put a metal strip down the middle of the road to communicate with the car's computer, as many "futurists" imagined in the past.  What is needed is a robot with sensors and cameras that can see and feel its way down the road.  Of course, it will be programmed to keep a certain distance between itself and other cars/objects and could more easily determine if it can squeeze thru a space than a human "sensor."  It should certainly be able to park better than most humans (no gender jokes!)
Such a car has already been developed, but is in a  purely experimental stage and would now be impossibly expensive.  Also, a scheme has been developed by a company to park cars in a multi-story garage.  The cars will be fitted with a mini-computer, that when you go to park, it will be taken over by the computer of the garage.  You leave the car in a designated spot and the garage computer parks it in the next available space and when you return it brings it back to that spot, no need for parking attendants and no bumps on the car. 
While the robot car is driving you to your destination using GPS, you can sit back and enjoy a little drink, or a big drink, no more drunk driving!  Or you can indulge in a meal prepared automatically by the robot car in its mini-kitchen.  And then you can relax and watch a movie or TV, no danger of being distracted from driving.
Eventually this will bring the term "automobile" to its true meaning and in fact will greatly reduce casualties from speeding and bad driving, especially at high speed. The car will also not allow anyone to smoke inside (no ashtrays) and one extra feature the robot car will have is that if there is an accident it will automatically call for the ambulance.


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