The future is here.
Just a few years ago, it seemed like driverless car technology was a futuristic invention. But now driverless cars are already on the road, even in places like Atlanta.
In a news report aired Wednesday on CBS 46, reporter Vince Sims was taken on a demonstration of a self-driving Tesla car by Bryan Mulligan, president of Applied Information.
Mulligan showed how the Tesla worked on a test drive through Fulton County. Although many imagine self-driving cars working without anyone in the driver seat, the cars still require a driver paying attention to the road.
“If it says that I’m not engaged enough with it, it will tell me to put my hands on the wheel,” Mulligan told Sims. “It’s not trying to substitute me as a driver, what it’s trying to do is keep me safe.”
Even though some self-driving cars use a camera on the windshield to read speed limit signs and make adjustments, they still have limitations that would require driver intervention. For example, the cars use sensors to detect markings on the road. However, unmarked roads or construction could confuse cars. In those situations, drivers will have to take over.
“So you still have a driver but now you have layers of technology shielding you as well,” Mulligan said. “So now to have an accident both of you have to make a mistake and the technology has to make a mistake.”
Dwight Dozier, the owner of a self-driving car in Atlanta, also told CBS 46 that the cars show a lot of promise but still require your attention.
“I think it’s promising. You still have to mind some of the attention to the wheel, for example there’s occasions when the lines in the road get faint, or night time, or weather conditions,” Dozier said.
While some drivers remain skeptical about the need for the technology, many tout the safety and efficiency of driverless cars. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, has been one of the staunchest supporters of this technology.
In October 2016, Musk even said he promises to make a Tesla by the end of 2017 that can drive itself from Los Angeles to New York with no human intervention.
He even went so far as to say that critics who write negatively about self-driving cars are “killing people” because they’re actually two times safer than a car with a human driver.
Self-driving technology still has a long way to go, but the early models featuring the technology are showing promise on the streets of Atlanta and cities across the United States.
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