Problems Likely To Be Faced While Using Autonomous Cars

Inside the Google RoboCar today with PlanetLabs

Autonomous cars are now becoming the topic of discussion with the current technological trends. Every country is now eager to try a new way of improving their transport sector. Will autonomous cars succeed in convincing us regarding their efficiency? Here are some of the challenges we might encounter while operating these vehicles:

Radar Interface

Autonomous cars use radars and lasers to navigate. The radars are usually mounted on the vehicle’s body while the lasers are installed on the roof. Radars are based on the principle of detecting the radio waves’ frequency, reflected back from the nearby objects. An autonomous car releases radio frequency waves as it moves. The radio waves then get reflected back from the nearby cars and other objects. This is what is used to determine the distance between the approaching object and the autonomous car.

In the event two similar autonomous vehicles, emitting the radio waves of comparable frequencies, approached one another, radio wave interference may occur. Therefore, a challenge arises as to whether an autonomous vehicle will be capable of determining its reflected signal from the signal emitted from other similar autonomous vehicles? It will be tough to determine the distance between two autonomous vehicles that are not supported by an accurate GPS. Furthermore, for the other objects that lack a mechanism for transmission, how will they inform an autonomous car about their positions?

Traffic in Mumbai

Navigating through a crowded city

An autonomous car is likely to experience a problem navigating through crowded cities, where people are likely to keep on crossing a busy road, even if the traffic lights indicate green. In that case, an autonomous car might decide to wait for all the pedestrians to cross the road or choose to proceed without caring about any crossing pedestrian. In the event the autonomous vehicle decides to hold on, it might wait for eternity as more pedestrians will still be crossing the road. On the other hand, if the vehicle decides to obey the traffic lights and proceed as it turns green, it might end up knocking down the pedestrians, which may result in severe accidents.

Ethical decisions

Autonomous cars are usually computer-tuned and made to follow certain settings. Determining the types of objects having no mechanism of transmission can be difficult. Human beings, animals or other objects are incapable of transmitting radio waves and, therefore, it can be difficult for an autonomous car to prioritize the type of object to save.

In every community, the life of a human being is prioritized over anything else. This is so concerning the human intelligence. How about the case of computer intelligence? Will a computer-based car be able to pardon the life of a human being and knock down other objects in exchange? This case applies to both, the accidents involving a group of passengers and a single passenger. Will the autonomous car sacrifice a single passenger for the group of passengers?

Despite the countless benefits associated with autonomous cars, we will have to adapt to some of the challenges related to their use in the meantime as we find possible solutions to them. Additionally, to make the adoption of this modern technology a success, we should allow for more scientific research in the related areas.

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