Back when I was still engineering vehicle control systems, a lot of our testing involved trying to anticipate all of the unpredictable things that the vehicle operator might do. Computer engineers often use the acronym PEBKAC http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_error and in the automotive sphere the steering wheel substitutes for the keyboard.
For example the biggest variable in trying to control anti-lock brakes was how hard or fast the driver applied the brake pedal. Many of us dreamed of the day when we could take the driver out of the equation.
The combination of vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications with advanced sensing and actuating systems has the potential to dramatically reduce both collisions and congestion. We're well on our way to semi and fully autonomous vehicles with increasingly affordable collision warning, lane departure, blindspot indicator and adaptive cruise control systems.
I love to drive on a twisty country or canyon road, but frankly the daily commute on the highway is just a grind and I'd just as soon let the car handle the job.
Why Google's self-driving car may save lives
While driverless cars like Google's may sound scary, the truth is they're safer than the cars and trucks you share the road with today.
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