Autonomous Travel, Sooner Than We Think

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  • 2 Years ago
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One who prides themselves in paying attention to the ever-changing world around us may find themselves thinking about one of the greatest changes to the way we live our lives that may or may not be just beyond the horizon. I will provide you with this little piece of information that may provoke a bit more thought toward the subject: there are precisely three gigantic companies investing millions upon millions of dollar into the field of artificial intelligence, and they are all household names. #1 is Google. I believe Google needs no explanation. #2 would be Facebook, once again; I’m sure you’ve heard the name. #3? Toyota. That’s right, the automotive company has quite recently invested $1 Billion USD into AI research, and I’m sure you develop an idea about where they are steering this investment: right into steering you .

Autonomous cars have become all the rage lately. The idea is fairly straightforward, create a car that does the driving for you. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean ALL of the driving, Toyota and other autonomous car enthusiasts realize this, right now especially, is not a practical pitch. There are a significant amount of people that prize their right as human beings to do the driving all on their own, and for good reason too. Driving is psychologically appealing; directly related to freedom within our psychology. Driving gives us a sense of relaxation sometimes, and it has become so habitual that to have the entire way we do so change so greatly may throw us off completely, leaving us practically disoriented. AI in motor vehicles has much more practical theory behind it than merely taking the wheel for you indefinitely, for instance it could do so for you by request. Additionally, some theorize that the initial use may be most practical to develop and implement a relatively universal system where the vehicle only takes over when there is an emergency situation, allowing an advanced, constantly evolving computer make the complex decision of what to do in a potential disaster, instead of a shocked, possibly unable to make a rational decision human driver.

AI doesn’t just have plans for steering and pushing on the gas pedal, though, some of the theories involved would like to change driving conditions far beyond that. For instance, there has been a few ideas that are already being tested where the vehicle can “learn” things about the road below it, as well as relay the information to the other equipped vehicles around it. If the bridge 5 miles ahead is icy, enough to be potentially dangerous, the vehicle on the icy bridge could potentially relay this information to tens of thousands of other vehicles and suggesting an alternative route. Same concept could and would apply to a car accident; once involved in a crash, the vehicles involved would send distress signals to other drivers ( as well as potential first-responders,) warning of the crash. This transaction could result in saving other drivers a good chunk of time, and potentially saving one drivers life.

When it comes to changing the way we travel in such a potentially radical way, there is bound to be a lot of resistance; just as well a great deal of brilliant-minded individuals to help reconcile some possible issues involved. While some argue : “How capable could a machine possibly be in making a decision that could save, or maybe lose, lives of the people involved?” Others argue “ How could you possibly think your mind is more capable than a supercomputer practically designed just for the purpose of making that decision?” As we revolutionize, we must think forward about these changes so that we and our loved ones can make rational, educated decisions about how these changes will take place; because they will inevitably do so regardless of whether we are wise to it or completely ignorant.

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