Self-Driving Cars

Future transportation has been thought to include flying cars, personal hoverboards, and other fanciful ideas. Recently, a more quiet sector of the auto industry has finally been released to the public.

In October, Tesla released the first generation of self-driving cars out into the roads as part of an update in the Tesla Model S and X software built after 2014. The update itself costs a hefty $2,500 but many were eager to try out the first self-driving vehicle. In technicality, the update allows a function called “auto-steering,” as opposed to a fully automated self-driving ability. While the car will not be able to whisk away its rider completely independent of his or her commands, the car will make the everyday task of driving easier.

For instance, the function will maintain a steady car speed, self-steer cars to stay in lanes – even in sharp turns – and keep the car at a safe distance from surrounding cars and objects at all times. Drivers will still have full control at all times, which is imperative as the program is only intended for driving on highways and cannot yet recognize street signs and stoplights.

For the past couple of years, big companies have invested in self-driving vehicles including Google and Facebook. As of June 2015, Google has reportedly logged a million miles of driverless travel with a zero percent chance of accidents.

In fact, every accident had been at the fault of other human drivers. Even still, automated cars is a concept that most people are unsettled by, as shown in the various reaction vlogs and reviews of Model S owners uploaded to YouTube. Many long time drivers, having developed instinctual needs to brake, jerk the wheel and turn to other little habits, showing the difficulty in letting the car do the work. According to reviews, turning, braking and even parallel parking are extremely smooth, lacking an expected robotic feel in its movements.

Tesla has announced that a fully automated car can be expected to be commercially available in at most five years. Mr. Musk, despite the remarkable output of his various ventures which have the tendency to overstate future prospects, tends to be a little too optimistic in his timelines. After all, this is the man who proposed nuking the poles of Mars to accelerate the process of creating an atmosphere on the red planet. Nonetheless, once this feature becomes readily accessible to everyone it will certainly make communities and highways safe for all, despite many people’s doubts about the reliability of such products. The idea of a self-driving car will grow very popular and revolutionize the future for  years to come. Perhaps the next generation will never learn how to drive manually.]

Minha Lee

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