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 Volvo's self-drive 'convoy' hits the Spanish motorway

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Suzanne Sawatski

Number of posts : 31
Registration date : 2012-02-10

PostSubject: Volvo's self-drive 'convoy' hits the Spanish motorway   Tue May 29, 2012 6:42 pm

I found this article about self driven cars to be really interesting. As much as autonomous control sounds like something from a sci-fi, in truth the technology is here today to make it possible. The first public test was done in Spain, where three wirelessly linked cars mimicked a lead vehicle drove by a professional driver. Overall the journey was 200 km long, during which the cars drove at 85 km/h with a 6m gap between each of them, travelling among other cars and drivers. Volvo is the company behind this development which they believe will begin a new age of relaxed driving which would allow drivers to do other things while on the road, like working on a laptop, reading, or just relaxing. The cars are fitted with cameras, and laser and radar sensors which monitor the lead vehicle and other vehicles in its vicinty. The wireless connection allows the car to be under autonomous control, letting it accelerate, break, and turn like the leader. Volvo has done their best to change as little as possible from the existing system, meaning the cars should function without changes to the infrastructure of roads or expensive additional components in cars. With the aim to have a lot of cars connected to a lead vehicle travelling at hight speeds along specific routes on motorways, Volvo is confident that these cars will be widely available in the future.
A few years ago, Ford came out with a car that could parallel park it self, if you orientated it properly in regards to other vehicles and controlled the gas pedal and break. This technology by Volvo seems to be the next step - a vehicle that needs no human assistance to do anything. As cool as these vehicles are, they also may raise many concerns. For example, if there is an accident on the road, what will the car do - is it advanced enough to stop/avoid it without human control, or will it just continue driving and end up a part of the collision?

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Cassidy Mozak

Number of posts : 46
Registration date : 2012-02-03

PostSubject: Re: Volvo's self-drive 'convoy' hits the Spanish motorway   Tue May 29, 2012 7:12 pm

Sure, the idea of these cars sounds great, but unless everyone on the road has a vehicle like this that is synchronized with a 'leader', assuming the cars have a flawless operating system, then traffic and driving will continue to remain a problem. As Suzanne brought up, these cars may even cause more problems and safety concerns, especially if they do not have the ability to react to sudden changes. If an accident occurs, will this car be able to recognize it and stop in time to avoid becoming a part of it? If a young child darts out in front of the car, will the car detect them and stop istantly, or continue to drive forward and strike the child? In my opinion, there are many scenarios that would need to be tested before letting these cars on the roads. As well back up systems must be developed incase the car malfunctions. I personally believe the best solution is driving yourself as individuals can generally be trusted to act responsibly on the road and react to changes in driving conditions appropriately. If people do not want to drive or feel the need to work on their laptops during their drive, then there are alternate methods of transportation such as buses and light rail transit systems. At the time, I do not feel that this is the solution to our problems with distracted driving; in fact this might actually add to the problem making it seem okay to be doing other things while on the road.
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Volvo's self-drive 'convoy' hits the Spanish motorway
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