Travelling on the road can be one of the most dangerous, frustrating experiences of modern society. However, with the development of AI technology, perhaps human-driven cars, along with their problems, will soon be a thing of the past.
With 1.2 million people being killed on the roads every year, the most enthralling aspect of a driverless car has to be safety. A total of 96 per cent of car crashes are due to human error, hence, removing the main bug of the system (the human driver) could have monumental implications to the future safety standards of our roads.
Traffic would lessen significantly, saving our time as well as our blood pressure levels. The driverless cars would be able to communicate with each other and their surroundings in order to find the optimum route, spreading the demand for road space. The knowledge of its immediate surroundings and beyond surpasses the road awareness that a human could ever hope to harness, making it a lot safer in comparison.
Perhaps we would lose the satisfaction of control that one gets from guiding the wheels and speed of a car. However the benefits of driverless cars would make it a worthy sacrifice.
With no capable limbs or specific senses needed to drive the car, arguably the most convenient mode of transport, people with disabilities would no longer need to rely on public transportation to get from A to B. Fuel consumption would also decrease massively, being constantly informed with roadside infrastructure like traffic lights and road congestion, the cars would use this information to curtail emissions.
Also opening up previously unseen opportunities in the world of transportation, a team of engineering students have created a driverless bicycle in India. The i-Bike was designed with disabled drivers in mind. The most fascinating feature of this bike is its hybrid function. It can switch between automatic locomotion, automatic steering and manual mode, giving the rider total control of the bike. For instance an arm amputee could manually power the bike but utilize the automatic steering, someone without the use of their legs could manually steer the bike whilst using the bikes function to propel itself,
and a blind rider could simultaneously use both of the automated systems.
The bike is connected to wireless phone networks, using smartphone and GPS technology. This aspect of the bike’s technology opens the door to a bike sharing system. By sending an SMS text with specific location details, it can drive and deliver itself to whoever may need it. With coordinates in place, the bike makes its journey using mounted sensors to maneuver through unexpected obstacles. Once the rider has reached their location, it could return itself back to the bicycle station.
The i-Bike is still in the prototype stage, however there are plans to have it finished within the year. Such technologies could be seen shaping the future of our transport, as well as the everyday risks that are necessary to take.
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