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Self-Driving Cars

The Future of Self-Driving Cars Move Forward Thanks to Testing

Visions of the future often come with images of an easier life. Advancements in tech often streamline things we currently enjoy in the modern world. The concept of the self-driving car reflects the grandest visions of how tech can make transportation become incredibly easier in the future. How far off is that future of cars capable of driving by themselves? The average follower of tech news may think in terms of decades. The management at General Motors, however, present much more optimistic figures.

GM President Dan Ammann has stated the arrival of self-driving vehicles shall come in “quarters, not years.” When words such as these come from a major executive, the words resonate. A person in as high-profile of a position as Ammann wouldn’t make a hyperbolic statement if it wasn’t based on realistic expectations.

Currently, GM continues to run a massive self-driving car testing program. Measures of success are not based on mere simply functionality. GM isn’t producing a large-scale version of a radio-controlled toy. The company wants to release a revolutionary fleet of cars capable of driving all over the world. Safety, of course, remains a top concern. Efficiency stands as a top priority as well.

The testing often focuses on comparisons between self-driving cars and human performance. Interestingly, GM does not wish to merely match human performance on the road. The goal is to exceed human performance in the self-driving models. Exceeding human capabilities becomes critical for the overall potential success of self-driving cars in the market. Matching human capabilities is one thing, but the ability to exceed those capabilities creates a much stronger selling point.

Self-driving technology harkens a bold new era in transportation. It also heralds a dramatic change in the way people ride in vehicles. Turning over safety to a software program controlling a vehicle may be very difficult for a significant number of consumers. Enticements beyond the offer of added convenience become necessary to move those customers. Significantly improving human performance could be that enticement.

Apple Has Been Secretly Designing Self-Driving Cars

While self-driving cars still seem like a tech dream reserved for the distant future, there are some major companies working towards this goal. In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that the tech conglomerate has been working on designing Artificial Intelligence that would be capable of driving a car without a human operator. Cook explained how the current methods of driving are being interrupted with the ride-sharing companies, electric cars and self-driving technology. The AI technology responsible for these autonomous technologies are to be a focus of Apple’s development in the future.

 

Although Tim Cook mentioned self-driving cars as a major outlet for autonomous AI systems developed by Apple, he also alluded to other projects and technologies that could be developed in the future. Many companies such as Tesla, Google and even the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the U.S. military are making significant investments into the production of self-driving vehicles. Tim Cook’s comments with Bloomberg seem to indicate that Apple is moving in that direction as well.

 

For decades, Apple has been one of the leading producers of technology in the form of computers, laptops, phones and other handheld devices. However, this new area of focus on autonomous AI systems does not mean Apple is deviating from their normal route. Instead, this suggests that Apple desires to be regarded as a tech company overall rather than only a device company.

 

The next few years may see Apple extend their ventures into vast areas of technological development. Having already gained a reputable name and loyal customer base, it seems all of Apple’s ventures will be met with great anticipation and excitement. Self-driving cars will undoubtedly rely on copious amounts of high-quality technology. This is something Apple is no stranger to producing time and time again.

 

Self-Driving Cars Will Be on the Road Soon, Thanks to Washington Governor

If you thought self-driving cars were a thing of the future, think again. Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced his plans for the tech in a blog post on Wednesday.

 

With big heads from Google, Uber, and GM in attendance, Inslee signed an executive order to begin the testing of self-driving cars in Washington. The order, which authorizes companies to apply to the Washington Department of Licensing in order to test their driverless cars, could set these cars on the road in less than two months.

 

The governor expressed belief in the positive outcomes from his action, writing that it would bring more business into the state while also making it safer. He also hoped that the autonomous and electronic technologies could combine to reduce carbon emissions.

 

Officials from several state agencies will make up a control group that, based on the results of the testing, will suggest revisions to laws regarding the self-driving cars.

 

Specifying very few safety regulations other than that the car must be able to turn itself off safety in a system failure, Inslee admitted to a “relatively light touch” when it came to regulations. This may be due to his full confidence in the technology, at least when compared to human error.

 

“One thing I know about radar, it doesn’t drive drunk, it doesn’t drive distracted. We humans are good at a lot of things, driving cars isn’t necessarily one of them compared to the automated processes that are digital and foolproof. I just have huge confidence in the safety aspects of this,” the governor said in a statement to The Seattle Times.

 

Trust in the tech sure has come a long way since Google started testing it last year in Kirkland. It remains to be seen if it is quite as safe as Inslee hopes.