Google self-driving car prototype built on a Toyota Prius

How will RoboCars work, and when will we have RoboCar's?

The RoboCar vision offers huge gains in accident rates, erasing traffic congestion and more, but is it pie in the sky or will we actually have self-driving robotic cars roaming our cities in the future? Today Google's Self-Driving car project does have modified Toyota Prius's roaming the streets, primarily in Silicon Valley, prototyping the RoboCar's of the future.

We're collectively past 2001 and we don't have flying cars, nor video-phones (well, except for FaceTime or Skype), nor AI driven space ships orbiting Saturn, nor most of the other predictions of Science Fiction. The future isn't exactly what we thought it would be, eh? The RoboCar vision described by Brad Templeton and others is a plausible vision of the future, if for no other reason than the multiple efforts underway at universities and corporations around the world working to develop parts of the RoboCar vision. It seems like it's just a matter of time and continued technology development for the ideas to become real.

In Templeton's vision, RoboCars will have on-board camera, RADAR and GPS systems to have a virtual map of the terrain & traffic around the car. Using these data inputs the RoboCars will be able to detect other vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, road blockages and more, and be able to drive in any existing traffic condition. He can speak confidently about this because the Google Self-Driving Car project has already logged well over 160,000 miles of driving an automated car (under human supervision) on regular city streets. When fully developed Templeton envisions human occupants of RoboCars kicking back to relax or talk with family members, while the car drives them around the city. Additionally, RoboCars could drive themselves around town even with no human occupants, and such uninhabited cars could be part of a car sharing program, or act as an automated delivery vehicle for stuff bought online from a store.

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Comments

We do have flying cars! I'll have to look it up for you but five guys from MIT are building them even now. The company's called Terrafugia and last July they were trying to get through the last of the NHTSA and FAA hoops.
They're approved for sale, actually. Can't link here, but I wrote something about it back in October.

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