Robotic cars

From ArticleWorld

Robotic cars are vehicles that will be able to scan the road for all necessary data to allow the vehicles to drive themselves. They will have the ability to make turns, avoid obstacles, decelerate properly, obey speed limits and find the best routes. This technology should make the roads safer by removing human error.

How it started

In 2004, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) created the Grand Challenge 2004 in response to a Congressional and Department of Defense mandate. The goal was to accelerate the development of unmanned ground vehicles in an effort to save lives on the battlefield. The challenge offered a $1 million dollar prize to the developers who could deliver an autonomous vehicle that could complete a tough desert course that ran from Barstow, California to Primm, Nevada. Of the 15 finalists who competed, none were victorious. In 2005 the Grand Challenge was held again, this time the prize was $2 million dollars. The Stanford Racing Team emerged victorious with their robotic vehicle completing the course in 6 hours and 53 minutes. Five teams completed the 132-mile desert course in 2005.

What’s next

Originally it was thought that autonomous vehicles would see little use outside of military applications, however, corporate and public interest has changed that. Robotic cars present new sources of funding for business as well as allowing grassroots participation. Development of robotic cars is relatively inexpensive because cars are cheap and reliable, if one gets wrecked, you can get another one just like it. The computers used for these vehicles are standard off the shelf computers. Most of the components for operation, such as hydraulics and circuitry, are readily available. Many companies are gearing up for what they consider will be new market and they are pushing ahead with research and development that makes new advances every day.