I just learned about a new concept in ‘automated cars‘ -
“Until recently, the idea of taking drivers out of the loop has always seemed a distant possibility. Engineers in Detroit imagined a complex system in which all vehicles on the road would be controlled by a central computer. The infrastructure required would be expensive. And the system wouldn’t work until every vehicle was equipped with the necessary technology, says Lawrence Burns, the retired head of research and development at General Motors.
But now, Burns says, technologies pioneered in several companies are making it “a lot faster for the world to get on with it.” Processors are speeding up and sensors are becoming cheaper, and almost every automaker now offers cars equipped with adaptive cruise control, which uses radar to sense vehicles in the lane ahead and change the car’s speed to avoid accidents. And Google’s experimental automated Priuses proved that cars could drive themselves on public roads surrounded by conventional vehicles. In 2013, BMW will start selling a production version of its i3 concept car, which can drive itself at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour.”
I was also reading on Mashable some additional details on why the automated cars of the future will be more fuel efficient and save you money.
Even in India the concept of automated cars is taking center stage – Yahoo answers had an interesting set of comments
The BBB had a great story how automated cars will save us money at the pump:
“Today’s technology focuses on fuel economy, and ways to help drivers save money money on fuel. In the future, however, the driver will be completely taken out of the equation and fuel savings will be incredible. Some of the things that drivers do, such as breaking too hard and accelerating too quickly account for almost one third of the gas lost in a typical tank. With automated vehicles these mistakes are eliminated because human error is taken out of the equation. Traffic jams cause U.S. drivers to waste 2 billion gallons of fuel per year. In an automated car, the computer will sense traffic jams and send the driver information on alternative routes to avoid such build ups.”
For a more technical review, I spent some time digging into this important topic @ MIT – on how automated cars really work - ”Werner Huber, who heads driver assistance systems development at BMW, estimates that if one in five cars had adaptive cruise control, it would smooth out traffic by interrupting the chain reaction that ties up traffic. If all cars had it, it could increase the capacity of roads by 20 percent and decrease fuel consumption by 83 percent in congested areas, according to a study by researchers in Japan.”
I hope you enjoyed this overview of how automated cars will hep us at the fuel pump of the future.