WILL FULLY autonomous cars ever become the norm on our roads? There are several reasons to be sceptical but a chief concern is their ability to navigate real-world environments, which are complex and chaotic. Humans can do it because we have the capacity to find solutions to unexpected situations we encounter for the first time; robots follow programming and respond to pre-set scenarios.
However, one look at the video above from Waymo, Google’s driverless car division, and a major advantage of autonomous vehicles becomes obvious: they can “see” and process many more obstacles than can a human. It’s impressive stuff, with the 360-degree view making the point that an autonomous car can see in all directions at once and is perhaps more likely to spot hazards than we can.
It even shows how a Waymo car is able to navigate a busy car park and wait for an on-coming vehicle to pass before driving around shoppers accessing their boot.
Tesla, which includes the “Autopilot” semi-autonomous hardware and software on its customer cars, says that by feeding the data from new scenarios into the cloud, its cars get smarter all the same time, as over-the-air updates are rolled out.
Whether or not fully autonomous cars take over our roads remains to be seen, though. What’s your money on?