Posted by: grokscience | September 4, 2013

Self-Driving Cars

Underwood-4-150x150With several car companies promising to release nearly self-driving cars in the next decade, it’s a good time to discuss what these cars actually do and how they might benefit us.  On this program, Dr. Steve Underwood discusses why we might want a self-driving car, the state of the industry, and what we can expect in the near future.





  1. Will the auto-cab will also have stereo-typical old NY cabbie accent? I found Johnny cab from Total recall to be annoying. Maybe there will be an app for that!

    What I didn’t hear in this interview was potential for fuel savings. Autonomous controls react much faster than humans. They can follow the car in front of them much closer, reducing drag. Linking the distance info with engine controls, it seems to me the car can keep fuel usage to optimal levels by having control over aero. Even if not optimal, keeping the car drafting the one in front could result in very large fuel savings. I’d venture to guess upwards of 50% at highway speeds, and even higher for poor aero cars like vans. In fact, aero may not matter much in this world, so car designs may change, too. Maybe we can once again drive cars like 1965 VW microbus going 164mph and still get 50mpg.

    But without lawyer reform, this might not happen any time soon. Shake a speare?

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