Epilepsy Talk

Self Driving Cars — A License to Drive! | January 3, 2022

It’s not a dream. It’s a reality that’s happening NOW.

Here’s how it all began…

After losing his best friend to a car accident at age 18, Sebastian Thrun vowed that he would find a way to prevent fatal crashes caused by human error.

Now a professor of computer science at Stanford University, Thrun joined forces with Google in 2007 to develop cars that drive on autopilot.

First, the state of Nevada granted Google a license for trial on public roads – bringing self-driving vehicles one step closer to production.

And then California State Senate approved a bill that would legalize self-driving cars in the state.

Slowly but surely, tomorrow was becoming a reality today.

In a nutshell, here’s how self-driving cars work:

Basically they combine computer and memory.

The onboard computer system has a 360 degree spatial awareness. Equipped with video cameras, radar sensors and a laser range finder.

First, before any route is driven using the automated technology, the routes are driven to capture a detailed digital map of all of the features on the way.

By mapping things like lane markers and traffic signs, the software in the car becomes familiar with the environment and its characteristics in advance.

When the car later tackles the route without driver assistance, the same cameras, laser sensors and radar help determine where other cars are and how fast they’re moving.

Meanwhile, the computer software controls acceleration and deceleration and mounted cameras read and interpret traffic lights, signals and road signs.

“The problems are all about computers and information — how to get the right info to the cars at the right time,” a Google spokesman continued.

“And it’s all made possible by our data centers, which are able to process the enormous amounts of info gathered by these vehicles.”

Right now, Tesla is in the lead, with Apple not far behind in the self-driving car race.

And most major car companies have advanced self-driving car projects in the works.

From Audi to BMW, Cadillac, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Lexus, Nissan, Mercedes, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo.

The obvious advantage would be for people unable to drive, like those with epilepsy, because the car would be independently mobile.

It would ultimately mean that no sort of supervision is required to keep the journey safe and user-friendly.

But also consider these advantages:

Safer roads — Human error is the cause of 60 per cent of the 1.2 million fatal road traffic accidents globally each year.

Less pollution — Fuel economy would have a positive impact on the environment.

Cheaper insurance — Greatly reduced chances of having an accident will mean lower premiums.

Improved economy — The car calculates how to drive in the most efficient manner.

Definitely, for those of us who can’t drive, this technology could be the start of so many options, so much more freedom.

Options we once only dreamed of.

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1 Comment »

  1. Self-driving/electric cars do not resolve the greater-scale issue of car dependency. We need superior local public transportation options, and real regional rail that can replace 2nd-order car trips.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by j.b. diGriz — January 8, 2022 @ 9:18 PM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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