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Monday, October 24, 2016

Self-driving cars prepare the revolution in the lives of people

Experts claim that mass production of fully robotic cars – matter of the near future. This will radically change not only the system of transport and cargo transportation, but also the appearance of cities. Prototypes are created and successfully function. What’s stopping this revolution happen now?

These days it’s hard to surprise someone automatic transmission, cruise control, sensor lights and rain or multimedia system of a car. Relatively recently, mass-produced cars appeared, the public’s ability to Park, to keep the place in a row on a course of movement, and automatically slow down. But in the control loop of the machine is still active role is played by people, asking her rate of movement and aiming in one direction or another. However, technological progress gives the car a great “mind”, making it not just a self-propelled and self-driving vehicle, when the car without human intervention should be to their destination by selecting the route and speed of movement, based on the need to ensure primarily the safety of passengers.

Forgotten chores, inject robots

“You only need to press the button on the iPhone mobile app “Tesla”, and your car will earn you money even if you are at work or on vacation”

Currently in the world, according to the classification of the resource Business Insider, two tendencies in the creation of self-driving cars: the first aims to develop semi-automatic Tesla Model S, the second the fully automatic machines. Fully automatic – those who can drive from point a to point B and thus to cope with various traffic situations without driver intervention. The beginning of mass sales of such vehicles is expected in 2019.

Fully automatic machine, in turn, are divided into those which require the presence in the driver’s cab, and those that can carry some passengers, regardless of whether they drive a car. Over the next five years is expected to go on sale of machinery that is of the first type. As for cars of the second type, in the way of their implementation faces many obstacles in the form of legal, administrative and insurance issues, but because if you want to relax while riding as at home on the couch, will have to wait much longer.

A classic representative of the fully automatic car is the Google Car. Google is working on this car since 2010, to participate in different kinds of trials were built hundreds of electric vehicles of this type. First, the necessary equipment, including sensors and software installed on production cars such as “Toyota, Audi and Lexus, but then the company has developed a special small electric car, who received the name of the Google Car. In its form it resembles an enlarged copy of the children’s toys or highly modernized “humpbacked” “Zaporozhets” with a certain thing on the roof, resembling a large police “flasher”. In this machine the wheel and other traditional controls like gas pedal or even brake is not provided. All you need to do is point a finger at a point on the navigation screen – your destination.

This type of car to date is an unprecedented design. Mercedes, BMW and Volvo have developed machines, which under certain circumstances can drive without human intervention, but only the Google Car is able to do this in the absence of the driver in the cab. This electric car can be called a smartphone and the same way to program the route of movement. He has the ability to “see” around itself at a distance up to 180 meters, at speeds up to 40 km/hour (a common limit set in the Central part of most American cities), and, if necessary, up to 55 km/h. This is also done for security purposes: if other cars driving with excessive speed, then the safe thing to do is to move side by side with them.

Interesting solution the creators of the Google Car and suggested to improve the safety of pedestrians. Everyone with some experience driving knows that sometimes people appear on the road out of nowhere and prevent hitting is extremely difficult. In order to minimize the damage to human health, the Google Car will be equipped with a special adhesive coating that literally glued the man to the hood. Thus will be avoided the drop on the road that usually causes serious additional injury to the pedestrian. With the same “depreciation” purposes Google Car has plastic windshield.

However, driving in an automatic car is hard to call pleasure. These machines are like little children who yet have neither the coordination nor the ability to calculate the strength of the movement. The vehicle sharply accelerates and brakes sharply as well. Maybe during the drive to wag away from the crumpled paper bag lying on the road. Can stand for four minutes in an unmanaged intersection waiting time between machines, the appropriate security awareness. As noted by the creators of “the machine” on wheels, the main task is to teach his human assessment surmountable certain difficulties or obstacles.

For testing the Google Car and other driverless cars at the University of Michigan funds the largest automotive corporations and other companies interested in creating machines with “brains”, was built a special training ground in the form of a mini-city, the streets which cars drive without drivers. The only inhabitant of this town, participating in trials as a pedestrian, is a humanoid robot Sebastian, an increase of about 170 centimeters.

Harry Potter vs autopilot

But Google Car is the future, and the company “Tesla” offers even “poluavtomatizirovannogo”, but the present. The already mentioned model of the Tesla Model S the most advanced and expensive) has a function, which its creators call “autopilot”, although it would be better to call “driver”. About this system the whole world spoke in may of this year, when in a car accident on the “Tesla” moving running automatics, was killed by her 40-year-old driver and owner. This was the first accident of this type of electric car that claimed human life, and the first serious accident in nearly 210 million miles, which Tesla has driven in automatic mode. For comparison, the usual, not automated machines of all types in the US, the loss of one life is on average 150 million kilometres travelled. In the whole world, the figure is even worse – a little less than 100 million kilometers.

It soon became known that the driver, instead of watching the road, I watched the movie about Harry Potter. The accident occurred due to the fact that neither the driver nor the autopilot “Tesla” on the background of white sky, could not see across the road turning white trailer and made no attempt to brake. The creators of the Model S admitted that the accident occurred partly due to the shortcomings of the autopilot. To avoid such incidents in the future, the designers of “Tesla” decided to separate radar and camera machines, which previously were merged into a single looking complex. Such complexity overloaded the on-Board computer, which just could not cope with the amount of information received. Now the main “eyes” of the machine will be a radar that sees through rain, snow, fog, and impossible to blind with bright light.

However, the American society for the protection of the rights of consumers felt that the company “Tesla” needs to stop install on their machine the function of “autopilot”. This organization is remembered and other times when “Tesla” had an accident (though without serious consequences) due to the fact that drivers used the automatic driving mode. As a compromise the company has offered to write this function, but to make it work only if the driver keeps hands on the wheel. Another suggestion was a ban on the use of the word “autopilot” in relation to the electric car “Tesla” as “misleading and potentially dangerous.” Supposedly the drivers are overly relaxed, believing that you can completely trust the autopilot. However, if you take your hands off the wheel for a few minutes in the cabin the beep sounds and the display of the instrument cluster lights please bring them back. A similar system installed on some models of concern “Mercedes” is activated within 10 seconds after the driver removes hands from steering wheel.

Head of “Tesla” Elon Musk has already rejected the recommendations of the Society for the protection of the rights of consumers. According to him, the company will focus not on limiting the capabilities of the autopilot, and on training drivers on how they need to use it.

Cruise control on “steroids”

“After reading this list of limitations of the autopilot “Tesla”, it’s hard not to ask the question, why would need such automation?”

It is difficult to say to what extent the company “Tesla” misled its customers. Here are some of the items of the user applied to the autopilot, which the drivers must read before using it:

Don’t pin your automation task ensure timely and adequate braking constantly watch the road and be ready to brake, even if moving at low speed.
– Autopilot may not “see” all the objects around you or some stationary object, standing in a strip of your movement, and can “see” what actually exists, which will result in inappropriate maneuvers and braking of the car.
– Autopilot may not be possible to determine the distance from a moving car, so define and maintain it themselves.

In addition, warns the company “Tesla” autopilot may be difficult when the road makes a sharp turn in low-visibility conditions (snow, rain, fog), in bright light from the headlights of an oncoming car or the sun that dazzles videocamera “eye” of the electric vehicle when the dirty or misted windscreen through which to look at these “eyes”, or when soiled located in the middle of the grille radar sensor.

After reading this list of limitations of the autopilot “Tesla”, it’s hard not to ask the question, why would need such automation? Therefore, according to The Washington Post, the autopilot “Tesla” – it is nothing more than cruise control on “steroids”. By the way, officially “Tesla” so your autopilot and calls: “cruise control with the ability to monitor the traffic situation (Traffic-Aware Cruise Control). This system keeps the car within lanes, reading traffic signs, exceed the speed as much as you want, slowing movement, if in front of the host vehicle also stops when it sees an obstacle ahead. To overtake, just turn on the turn signal, and the machine takes the next number when you can. Some believe that automatic overtaking safer, for “Tesla “sees” around itself, 360 degrees, eliminating blind spots.


In new Delhi has opened a specialized exhibition Auto Expo 2016. According to the organizers, the auto show is the largest in Asia and one of the largest in the world. Last year the exhibition was visited by over 700 thousand chelovekochasov to decide which one to choose the route and how to ride “properly” deeply and comprehensively assess the traffic situation and to compensate for the aggressive and irresponsible driving of other drivers on the autopilot is not able. Maybe that’s why, according to the poll, three out of four American drivers feel distrust of automated machines and only one in five would trust the “machine” on wheels their life and health.

The word “autopilot” is a strong Association with aviation, as aircraft autopilots have been used successfully for many decades. However, aviation autopilots are simpler and solve more simple problems than a car. Airplane “machine” is a winged car embedded in the onboard computer route, he establishes the most economical operation of engines, depending on the altitude and mass of the aircraft, selects the optimal modes of ascent and decline. But when calculating and landing the crew has to tell the autopilot what to do. In the case of an emergency situation (such as, for example, convergence with another aircraft or off-design approach to earth) autopilot only warns pilots about the dangers, giving them an active role in its elimination. Besides, in the sky more than on the roads, there is no situation where you “cut” near flying Board (if it is not, of course, formation flying fighters), when from around the corner POPs another plane, when an obstacle on the road is the open door or fallen off the truck beam. The crew can bring the plane on course and altitude, then remove your hands from the controls and the plane without the intervention of people will fly in a straight line as much as you need that car can only be done in the open field. Finally, the winged vehicle can leave from unexpectedly appeared obstacles not only to the right or to the left, but also up or down, which gives her more than the car, the margin of maneuver.

Revolution in the field of transport

According to the American financial Corporation Morgan Stanley, the global land resulted in two main trends: the first is the sharing of personal vehicles outside the circle of their owners, and the second self-driving cars. The first trend was embodied in the company Uber. Using the mobile client sends an automated communication node Uber request for the route, which is then addressed, one of which is close to the client Uber drivers who use their personal car as a taxi. By may 2016 the network, Uber has combined the 449 cities in 69 countries, particularly in Russia.

As for the second trend, all the “growing pains” self-driving cars are, of course, is the future. First, their mass introduction of the automobile “jams” though, and will remain, disappear of their most irritant component is a waste of time: if you got into the self-driving car, we can work on the computer to view the business paper, watching TV or a movie. Secondly, the movement will be much safer. On the one hand, self-driving cars will go strictly by the rules. According to some estimates, after they conquer the city streets and highways, accidents caused by human errors will be less than 92%. On the other hand, it would eliminate the drunk driving. In the opinion of the specialists of the National Directorate of the USA on traffic safety on motorways, thanks to self-driving cars on American roads will be avoided up to 10 thousand deaths related to alcohol use.

The third argument in favor of “machines” – their environmental impact: all current self-driving cars, including Tesla and Google Car are electric vehicles – and this is the main trend in the creation of such machines. The fourth argument is cheapness. Evaluation Morgan Stanley, the cost of the trip in the “electroautomate” in the United States could fall to 25 cents per mile, 10 times less than the cost of a taxi ride. In 2013, the American public transport, driving a total of nearly 59 billion passenger-miles, at a cost of over 60 billion dollars or 1 dollar and 3 cents per passenger-mile. According to British Finance Corporation, Barclays, self-driving cars taking on the road travel could reduce this cost to 29 cents per mile.

“To develop the technology for the movement of unmanned vehicles is planned on the Russian roads”

Thus, Morgan Stanley marked tendency to maximize the efficient use of private vehicles (including for the transport of other people) will contribute to the spread of self-driving taxis. Moreover, according to Business Insider, the creation of such kind of public transport will become a strategic direction of the company “Tesla”, because the demand for private cars will continue to fall in the deteriorating traffic situation and rise in prices of Parking problem.

Here’s how said this a few days ago the Musk, referring to the future owners a fully self-driving electric cars “Tesla”: “You can attach your car to the “fleet” shared electric car “Tesla”. For this you only need to press the button on the iPhone mobile app “Tesla”, and your car will earn you money even if you are at work or on vacation… so It will reduce the cost of owning a car that almost everyone can afford to become owner of the “Tesla”. Given the fact that personal cars are used by their owners only 5-10% of the time of day, the economic benefit of owning self-driving cars will be several times higher than usual. In those cities where the need for individual drive and exceeds the capacity of residents to have personal vehicles, “Tesla will operate its own “fleet” of cars that will allow anyone to use her services, no matter where he was.

The development of self-driving vehicles and environmentally friendly has already received support at the state level. The US is already four States – California, Nevada, Florida and Michigan, and D.C. – allowed testing on their roads, vehicles without drivers. Last year the British government has allocated £ 20 million for the development of self-driving cars. To develop the technology for the movement of unmanned vehicles is planned on the Russian roads, the newspaper VIEW wrote. However, the main driving force of this revolution remains a private business.

On self-driving trucks in the future

Musk also announced his intention of “Tesla” to begin production of an electric self-driving poligrasovich and buses. Among those who have already begun to implement the formation of vehicles without drivers, the company Delphi Automotive, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Tesla, Bosch and Nissan. Moreover, as can be seen from this list, the development of “machines” on wheels started the company, known for its achievements in the field of high technologies. Considering the possibility of producing self-driving cars also Ford, Audi and Volvo. Toyota recently invested $ 1 billion in the creation of artificial intelligence for the car. Interest in the development and production of self-driving cars and showed Chinese Internet giant “Alibaba”. In total, according to us research firm IHS Automotive, sales of self-driving vehicles by 2025 to reach 250 thousand units per year with growth to nearly 12 million by 2035. In order to speed up the transition to the era of driverless cars, some automakers in the foreseeable future intend to offer installation in a regular car package of appropriate hardware and software, which will make them self-driving vehicle. The issue price is in the region of one thousand dollars.

Emphasis on using available self-driving electric cars “General use” can change the appearance of cities. Less need for garages and Parking spaces. People no longer strive to live in the center, because can productively spend the time stuck in traffic jam the car. However, another, less noticed, the media type of vehicle is preparing an even more radical technological revolution. We are talking about self-driving trucks are already being established in the United States. After all, the one who sits behind the wheel “heavies”, not just the driver. Often it functions as a deliverer of mail or packages directly to the recipient. This means that the emergence of self-driving trucks will inevitably give impetus to the development of robots that will perform the functions previously assigned to drivers.

By the way, this idea spread to the sea. The company “rolls Royce” has already begun to establish self-governing cargo ships, which will not need a crew.

When self-driving cars will be on the road in regular operation, their number will grow exponentially, because, according to experts, the accident of “Tesla” with a fatal outcome occurred due to the fact that the truck ran a man, not a robot. If the truck was under the control of automation, it was able to “negotiate” with automatic “Tesla” radio-electronic way, as “agree” in the air TCAS system of the aircraft, helping them avoid collisions.

The inevitability of the conquest of the streets and highways “automatic” on wheels, to comply strictly with traffic rules, in General, determined the General trend in the development of vehicles that emerged over the last 40 years, making it more environmental and safety. For example, in the United States since the 1970-ies total traffic increased by 180%, at the same time, the level of emissions the cars of harmful substances was reduced by 85%, while the number of fatal accidents per billion miles driven has decreased by 78%. Thus, conquering roads of robots is merely a matter of the foreseeable future.

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