Are we too eager to welcome robot chauffeurs? Breathless reports aboutdriverless cars being tested on America’s highways have some tech buffs dreaming of the day when we commute and cruise, faster than ever, without lifting a finger, our vehicles guided by GPS technology and a battery of intricate sensors. Google chairman Eric Schmidt believes his company’s driverless prototype represents its greatest technological innovation. “It’s really an error that we’re allowed to drive the car,” he said recently. But even as development races ahead, some leading tech experts say, “Not so fast.” The issue with driverless cars, says Bryan Reimer, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s AgeLab, isn’t the machines. It’s us. Young or old, he’s not ready to trust anyone with a vehicle that so fully turns the driver into a passenger. (He also points out, for example, that New England roads, especially in midwinter, offer an array of challenges far beyond those posed by southwestern highways, where Google has been testing its prototype.) Reimer’s research focuses on how drivers can be trained to understand and trust new vehicle technologies — and a prime concern is driver engagement. “We have case study upon case study of how individuals are terrible overseers of autonomous systems,” Reimer says. It’s human nature, he adds, to pay less attention as a passenger than as a driver. But even in cars that can largely function without drivers, human operators need to remain alert to be able to take over at a moment’s notice. In those situations, inattention could be fatal. To maintain safety, automakers need to strike a balance between developing cars that assist drivers and those that take over for them. “When the automobile does too much, drivers can become underaroused,” Reimer says. “They need to be doing enough to remain actively engaged. The real question is not our ability to technologically evolve autonomous vehicles. It’s how to connect the driver in a cohesive way with those technologies. We have not figured that out.” Cars That Can Wake You Up One way automakers are solving that problem is by developing biometric monitors that can gauge driver alertness — and health. Technology already being tested by such companies as Toyota, Ford and Mercedes can measure a driver’s breathing rate for signs of stress — and if high levels are detected, disable his or her smartphone to limit distraction. Other monitors can measure a driver’s blood-sugar level and, if it’s found to be unsafe, warn him or her of the risk of losing consciousness or even take steps to pull the car over. Similar sensors can measure brain waves, heart rate and facial temperature and detect signs of drowsiness. If a driver has a heart attack, his or her car will automatically pull over, stop and call for help. These biometric monitors are crucial to the development of autonomous car systems, which will demand ”a cohesive sense of the driver’s state at any particular period of time,” Reimer says. This new technology has obvious benefits for older drivers. Cars enabled with biometric monitors are expected to help some seniors stay behind the wheel longer. But while “a large focus of our effort is on technology that can help older adults,” Reimer says, “the real benefit is for everybody.” Some advanced safety technology, focused on external dangers, is already showroom-ready, like cars that can slow down, without driver intervention, if a collision with a pedestrian or other obstacle appears imminent. As The Atlantic Wire’s report on technology unveiled at the recent Consumer Electronics Show explains, ”When nothing feels wrong, the car lets the driver do the work; when it perceives a threat, the robotic system kicks in.” An Overhaul for Driver’s Ed Introducing advanced technology into automobiles is never simple, though. When anti-lock braking systems were introduced, Reimer says, older drivers tended to respond to the unusual sound of the system by taking their foot off the brake, while younger drivers quickly developed a tendency to drive faster, sometimes recklessly so. “As we evolve technology, we need to think deeply about how it is going to impact behavior,” Reimer says. “We need to develop technology that can be integrated with the experience.” For example, Reimer says, automakers need to make sure that when an auto edges too close to another car and a warning light or alarm goes off, the driver’s first response will be, “I’m going to hit another driver,” and not, “What’s this thing trying to tell me?” “We’ve not even begun to think of those complexities,” Reimer says. “We’re assuming that the driver who works within an advanced technology will be the same driver afterward, but not necessarily. I would argue the driver will be nowhere near as capable as today.” Even as we build more advanced sensors and autonomous features into our cars, “for the near future and perhaps farther, the driver is still the responsible party,” Reimer says. “How do we reinvent driver’s education?” EPUB Converter www.epubconverter.com
With any business, it is up to the individual owner of said business to ensure the success of the business. You may make more or less than any sample figures or results that might be quoted on our web sites or other publications. All business involves risk, and many businesses do not succeed. Further, Answers 2000 Limited does NOT represent that any particular individual or business is typical, or that any results or experiences achieved by any particular individual/business is necessarily typical.
Our company's websites' content (including this website's content) includes advertisements for
our own company's websites, products, and services,
and for other organization's websites, products, and services.
In the case of links to other organization's websites,
our company may receive a payment, (1) if you purchase products or services,
or (2) if you sign-up for third party offers, after following links from this website.
Unless specifically otherwise stated, information about other organization's products and services,
is based on information provided by that organization,
the product/service vendor, and/or publicly available information - and should
not be taken to mean that we have used the product/service in question.
Additionally, our company's websites contain some adverts which we are paid
to display, but whose content is not selected by us, such as Google AdSense ads. For more
detailed information, please see Advertising/Endorsements Disclosures
constitutes consent for this. For details, please see Privacy.
Click privacy for information about our company's privacy, data collection and data retention policies, and your rights.