Commuting to work or school might not be such a big deal soon, thanks to the unveiling of self-driving cars. Mercedes-Benz is the frontrunner in this new technology, releasing their F 015 luxury self-driving car in 2015, and now Google is following suit with their “testing fleet” of self-driving cars in California, Texas, and Washington. Veeo Systems is yet another company that’s rolling out these autonomous automobiles, with their vehicle sizes ranging from two-seaters to seventy-passenger buses.
The Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion is something straight out of a sci-fi fantasy, with its seamless yet slightly unsettling design. It features four suicide doors that open onto a four-seated interior that screams “high-end.” The interior is overflowing with high-res touchscreens, and the two front seats swivel for maximum mobility. The windows situated higher up, and are opaque, leaving the touchscreens to take the spotlight. It uses a combination of cameras, sensors and LEDs fitted to its exterior to interact and respond to the world around it, making sure to include laser technology that lets pedestrians know when it’s safe to cross in front. All of these features, and it’s still only an experimental vehicle.
Google’s version of the self-driving car is a smaller, more modest, and quite frankly egg-shaped take on the idea. The main focus of the Google car is experimentation and prototyping in order to create a safer driving experience. Their driverless cars also implement exterior sensors, and can detect objects up to two football fields away; they’ve supposedly safely (self)driven 1 million miles. The prototypes now include Lexus SUVs along with Google’s own self-designed cars.
The biggest driverless car breakthrough will hopefully be the self-driving public transportation that is said to be in 30 U.S. cities at the end of this year. Veeo Systems is looking to focus on “college campuses, theme parks, airports, downtown areas.” These public transit vehicles will supposedly be significantly less expensive than traditional public transportation, and less expensive to operate. The vehicles will feature pre-determined destinations on touchscreens, allowing the passengers to pick their stops and the vehicle to change its route accordingly. Laser technology will build the images of the routes for the vehicles to follow, and will allow them to safely navigate busy streets.
Self-driving cars are on the way whether you think they’re a good idea or not. Undoubtedly this technology will change the way we drive forever and hopefully make our streets safer, our commutes easier, and our vacations even more unforgettable. And honestly, when it comes to new technology, what more could you ask for?