Robots, too, can be bad drivers. As the world prepares for the coming future of driverless cars, there are bound to be a few accidents. Launched this summer, a trial of PostBus driverless shuttles in Sion, Switzerland was expected to continue through October 2017. Instead, one of the two shuttles hit a parked van earlier this week, sending the whole trial into a screeching halt.
A delivery van is a tiny warehouse on wheels. Away from the conveyor belts and simple machines of a warehouse, humans, usually two of them, do all the rudimentary tasks of delivery: driving, finding the packages in the back, and placing packages on doorsteps. Mercedes-Benz, in collaboration with drone delivery company Matternet, created a concept Vision Van that replaces this routine with an automated system, and adds two drones on top for speedy delivery.
Semcon, a product development company specializing in how humans actually use things, conducted a study on people's attitudes toward self-driving cars. People in Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Germany responded, and nearly half said they had very little trust in autonomous vehicles.
Driving is deadly. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that 32,500 people died on America's roads in 2015. Part of what makes driving deadly is that it's deadly dull: cautiously waiting to go, maintaining enough distance both behind and in front of other cars, and only crossing an intersection when there's definitely enough room for the car on the other side, are responsible ways to drive--though depending on the practices of a given area, sometimes also impossible or seen as rude. It can be an exhausting chore at even the best of times, and in rush hour, it's just a maddening, draining slog. So it's nice to contemplate, if only for a moment, what ideal driving could look like.
More than ever, car makers and transportation are finding ways to incorporate automated driving into their product offerings. Tech companies like Google, Uber, Lyft as well as car companies like Tesla, Toyota and Hyundai can all cleary see what lies on the road ahead, possibly thanks to LED headlights. Now one more company enters the fray: Drive.ai.