Robotic cars aren't in a sci-fi writer's imagination. They're
real and they're coming to a street near you!
Well, maybe it'll be a while until robot cars are the norm, but
Google's self-driving cars have clocked up a successful 140,000
miles on busy city streets.
Have a look at this video of a journalist testing Google's
self-driving car. Nobody is touching the steering wheel - the car
is steering itself!
What's the point of a self-driving car?
Because it's cool! OK, not just because it's
cool. Robot cars could reduce car accidents, cut down on
traffic congestion and reduce the amount of petrol we use.
How does it work?
How does Google's self-driving
car work? Source: Google and the New York
The car 'sees' the road through cameras, sensors and radar. This
information is sent to the 'brain' of the car, a computer. The car
can take in and process information much more quickly than a human
driver, allowing it to make and carry out correct decisions
When will all cars be robotic?
Designers have to make sure that the cars can cope with all
kinds of unpredictable situations, like pedestrians walking out in
front of cars, cyclists running red lights and other people's
Governments also need to think about the laws involving robotic
cars. Who is responsible if there is an accident - the person in
the car or the manufacturer who made and designed the car? Once
these problems are sorted out there's no reason why we couldn't all
be driving robotic cars!