Do you remember the movie Minority Report, where the cars seemingly drove themselves, navigating between each other while changing lanes? It seems kind of scary with all the cars zipping by each other at such high speeds, they look like they might crash into each other, but surprisingly they don’t. Well it looks like we may not have to wait that long to experience a future like that, thanks to CMU (Carnegie Mellon University) who are developing cars that not only can drive themselves, but also avoid crashing into each other.
We’re guessing that self driving cars may not be a welcome change that some are willing to accept. Car enthusiasts would probably still prefer to drive their own vehicles and feel the power, and to take control of the wheel, but for regular folks, computer controlled vehicles are more accurate, which means that they have the potential to reduce, if not entirely eliminate, automobile accidents and the deaths that usually accompany it. However, software can be buggy, and having your car’s software crash or hang while you’re going at 100mph isn’t the best idea.
CMU thought of that and came up with a solution – a distributed control system that is present in all cars, where cars would communicate with each other like how a pack of wolves would, or act as a hive mind, so when one car reacts, the rest of the cars will react along with it. For example if a car were to pull off the highway, the rest of the cars would move in to close the gap, or if a car in front slowed down, the cars behind it would slow down too. CMU has so far only managed to conduct controlled simulations with two cars, starting it out easy before increasing the complexity of the system. So far they have managed to achieve 100% safety with zero crashes, however the question now lies in whether car manufacturers would agree to use the same distributed system.
So how would you feel about cars that drove themselves and reacted accordingly to the situation? That would definitely allow us to get more things done while driving that we normally can’t, such as send text messages, draft e-mails, prepare documents, etc.