Tesla's Making Autopilot Cars in 2015. Why This is More Practical Than Google's Self Driving Cars
Johnny Cab was Sci-Fi only a few years ago. Are we ready for the real thing?
10 years ago, DARPA created a race to build self-driving cars that could complete a race in the middle of the Mohave Desert. It didn't end well. None of the cars finished.
Each year, a new race was held and the cars could not only complete the race in the middle of nowhere, but in an urban environment (using an abandoned military base). This means the cars not only had to drive, but merge with traffic, navigate typical obstacles and obey local traffic signs.
Meanwhile, as Google was making headlines showing off prototype / concept cars that could drive themselves, Tesla Motors has been making the real thing, cars that will be shipping within just a few months. Cars that can drive themselves. Really.
The key is, unlike Google's prototypes which are completely autonomous, these cars also have steering wheels.
The reason I see this as more practical than a completely self-driving car is that you can decide when you feel more comfortable driving. For people who take long drives and fall asleep at the wheel, this car can save lives.
Naturally, this opens up the issue of liability. What happens if there's an accident while using the autopilot. Elon Musk, Tesla's founder says that the car is to be under the driver's supervision, so you are responsible to monitor the road conditions and use common sense.
If you aren't familiar with Elon Musk, or Tesla, you may be interested in knowing that Elon Musk is also the man behind SpaceX, a company that is now building the next generation of spaceships that NASA will be using to go to the International Space Station. Musk reminds many people of Tony Stark aka Iron Man, the billionaire inventor and rocket scientist.
Joe Crescenzi, Founder
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