My father-in-law recently started a new job at a company in northern Utah that specializes in autonomous vehicle solutions. They focus mostly on the industrial, agricultural and military aspects of the space – things like tractors that plow the fields by themselves, graders that do their thing on their own, and military supply vehicles that follow behind a lead truck without drivers.
I also recently read an article in Wired magazine about letting robots drive. I’ve always been fascinated by the intersection of mechanical engineering and software engineering, and (with the exception of my wife and kids) cars are one of the biggest loves of my life. This combination of Kinect-like spatial awareness and the pure mechanical awesomeness of cars gets my heart pumping.
Many of the car companies have been experimenting with this idea for a long time (especially the German luxury brands), but I find it very interesting that Google has jumped on the robotic car wagon. Some of the most exciting video I’ve seen showing the capabilites of the autonomous car are from the Google cars. Here’s just a couple:
Not sure if I agree with some of the experts that these cars will be the standard in 10-15 years, but I can definitely see the value in it, and I’m all for it (although I still will reserve the right to take over from the computer…)