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Driverless Cars

Last year I wrote about IOT (Internet of Everything) and in the 9 months since I published my article things have moved on faster than I had ever imagined. When I first visited the area last year, I had just attended a conference about smart cities and IOT was high on the agenda. IOT has now taken centre stage with a couple of new developments, driverless cars and smart toys. Over my next two blogs I will detail the strides being made in driverless cars and smart toys and how our lives will be affected.

Driverless Cars

Ford, Renault-Nissan and Volvo have announced plans for producing driverless cars and Tesla publically went a stage further when they announced their vision for driverless cars. Elson Musk the founder of electric car company Tesla gave a speech last week at the annual developer conference of Nvidi in San Jose California, outlining their vision. Musk made the following claims:

“People may outlaw driving cars because it’s too dangerous, you can’t have a person driving a two-tonne death machine.”

“If you could count on not having an accident you can get rid of a huge amount of the crash structure and the airbags.”

“It’s just going to become normal, like an elevator, they used to have elevator operators and then we developed simple circuitry to have elevators just automatically come to the floor you’re at… the car is going to be just like that.”

Musk thinks that when autonomous vehicles have been proven safe to use, people driving vehicles will be outlawed. Also since autonomous driving is designed to remove the risk of collision with other road user, he thinks it will save a lot of lives.

You will be wondering how secure will Tesla’s car be, and Musk revealed that hacking will be treated seriously. Layers of security will be implemented to make it difficult to hack. He mentioned “What we spend most of our time on is making sure it’s very difficult to do a multi-car hack. We’ve put a lot of effort into that, and we’ve had third parties try to hack it.”

Volvo also plans to have their driverless cars on the road by 2017 with Renault-Nissan predicting theirs will be on the road by 2020 and Ford not far behind them. At the moment cars have the ability to park themselves, they can warn you when you cross lanes and if they think you might collide with an object they can apply the brakes. This is all admirable but it still relies on a driver to keep the show on the road and for the next few years that will be the case.

If cars become autonomous what’s next on the list boats and air transport? You could argue that autonomous trains and trams could be good as transport costs will come down allowing more trains and trams to be run per hour. If we are forced to rely more on technology then we are also forced to rely on the technology being safe and secure. Relying on technology makes them a target for hackers and terrorists. Do we want to live in a society in which we have less control of our day to day lives and where the technology we use can be compromised?

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