Wednesday 5 November 2008

Technology driving cars

There is lots of potential for adding yet more technology to the motor car.  In the past, this has often focused more on the environment within the vehicle.  More recently the focus has been on assistance with navigation.  Technology assisting the driver with control of the car has mainly been associated with error or exception conditions, such as emergency braking, anti-skidding, etc.  But there is more scope for technology that assists the driver more actively in normal driving or rather taking activities away from the driver altogether.  

Cars are already out there which use millimetre radar to actively manage the distance between it and the car in front.  One of my own cars is able to take control of the steering to automatically park itself either parallel or perpendicular to other vehicles.  It is not such a step from this for cars to identify and propose safe overtaking or lane changing opportunities.  Hopefully we will eventually combine many such systems to allow the total capacity of our road network to be increased by more dense packing of vehicles at speeds and distances totally regulated by the cars themselves rather than the human occupants.  

I enjoy driving a good deal, but I would rather give up some of the activity if automation allows less congestion and therefore reduces the propensity of Governments to regulate for less use of personal cars and more more of a move to public transport.   Using my own personal transport with all of its advantages, is more important to me than needing to drive it myself.

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