Friday, 23 September 2011

Computers and Cars

The famous KITT car from the series show Knight Rider from the early 1980's seems to have arrived.
 Students and scientists in Berlin are testing a vehicle that can drive itself. It can see traffic lights, pedestrians and many other features on the road it is claimed. It is controlled by satellites in orbit. A GPS.

The idea of a car that can drive itself is great idea. It would be of great assistance if one can't drive a car, or one loses his licence. The benefits seem to far out weigh the negatives. I'm not sure if this has happened to many people but GPS will tell the driver on occassion to turn left. When a left turn is not there. It is actually a bridge or a ravine.  It may be the voice of Darth Vader or Spock speaking these words of truth to turn left but don't believe them because an accident awaits. I know for a fact that some professional truck drivers do not use them for fear they will end up stuck under a bridge or worse. So there seems to be some wrinkles in the system and some ironing to do.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/oct/04/gps-driver-death-spanish-reservoir

GPS is an extremely technical piece of work. There are compensations made to the system to help it work that are difficult to fathom. Time needs to be adjusted dependig on location. This is difficult to grasp. And yet GPS functioning relies on a complex set of systems to fully function. It is always best to verify physical location by looking out the window. I tend to trust what I see rather than a screen. So when a motor vehicle fully depends on automatic systems for navigation there seems a potential for error. Compare that to human error and it might be a safer option but I'd still prefer to have the final manual control feature, just in case.

http://www.astronomy.ohio-state.edu/~pogge/Ast162/Unit5/gps.html

I like getting behind the wheel of a car and going for a drive. There is a sense of freedom and liberty. The power to travel great distances without  exterior control. Would I miss that? No because i can still program to go where I want it too, but the feel of driving will be gone. And that to me is a little sad. It will not be coming anytime soon though. These type of cars are still in their infancy. The beginings however, are there.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gJ3-i2RA9l2lCb3LTRY5E47PvGOQ?docId=0d92c8c7c60e445991c3fea789f2703b

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