Thursday, 24 March 2016

Self-driving cars: A brighter future for people with physical disabilities

Imagine a scenario where anyone could drive around safely and easily, irrespective of their capability?

A report released by the automobile sector claims that by 2020 there will be more than nine million driverless cars in the country. The cars will have an “autopilot” feature, which will work almost to the extent where the driver can completely take their hands off. This is definitely a boon for people with disabilities as self-driving cars will make them independent.

The process of dehumanization of transportation

The new transportation network, will know exactly how to get you wherever you want to go—cheaper, faster, and completely in control.  This may sound dystopian or amazing, depending on person to person, but it is definitely going to have a major impact on the transportation industry.

The commotion in transportation began a few years ago with the surge of TNC’s Transportation Network Companies such as Lyft and Uber. They started by crushing inefficient taxi providers; by using technology that takes most effort out of transportation. Phone based apps can connect drivers with riders, and do the direction-finding and billing for the driver. Some companies also use software to do: ride sharing and multi loading, automatic dispatching and route optimization. A few things that turn a small fleet of cars into an effective transport system.

These TNC’s still need drivers, but cars running on software instead of human judgment, is a completely different concept all together. These vehicles will process both sensor information and map to determine their exact location anywhere in the world. The vehicle will know which street it is on and the lane it is in. Sensors will assist in detecting objects around the vehicle. The software used will categorize objects based on their shape, size, and movement pattern. It will detect a pedestrian, a cyclist or a vehicle. Depending on what it senses, it will choose a safe speed and trajectory for the car.

Several companies are working toward building vehicles that can take you exactly where you wish to go at merely a push of the button. Most of these cars will have no pedals or steering wheel, and instead only sensors and software to handle the driving.

Aged or visually impaired individuals will no longer have to give up their independence. The time spent on the road commuting can be spent doing whatever you wish to do. Traffic accidents could be decreased dramatically. Self-driving cars are definitely the future of the car industry and a blessing for those suffering from disabilities.