Meditation & Health #20-The Advent of the Self-Driving Car
The Advent of
the Self-Driving Car
BY MU FENG & SHENG XIANG
Modern innovation has paved the way for autonomous technology in many countries. Examples of such technology are seen in various public transportation systems, such as high-speed trains, subways and trams. However, thus far it has been largely limited to transport systems that require additional supporting infrastructure such as rails.
New Reality on the Roads
The development of autonomous technology today is aimed at bringing greater convenience to the roads. Several large multinational companies are increasingly investing in the autonomous car: a self-driving vehicle featuring a computer which replaces human conduction.
The self-driving car is a spinoff from the growth of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). ADAS was not initially developed for the purpose of creating autonomous vehicles. Rather, it was created to alert drivers of imminent dangers. The beeping sound warns a driver of potential hazards and accidents within and outside of his vehicle. ADAS has been one of the key areas that automobile companies have been heavily focused on as they seek to develop self-driving vehicles.
In 2016, the United States’ National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defined six different levels of automation, ranging from level zero to level five. At level zero, there is no automation involved, and the driver manually controls all functions of the vehicle. At level five, the automated system can fully perform all driving functions.
Research into driverless technology has been fruitful, with several cities already testing autonomous vehicles on their roads. According to a global survey by World Economic Forum, the number-one reason respondents favored a self-driving car is that “it can find a parking spot and park itself.” Other reasons include a driver’s freedom to multitask when the car is fully automated and being at ease while in traffic.
Some countries have yet to allow driverless vehicles on their roads, due to legal and other safety-related concerns. Nevertheless, once the safety and legal issues are resolved and technology pertaining to autonomous vehicles further develops, the self-driving cars we see in science fiction may no longer be a far-flung pipe dream.