Trucks at Work

Driverless vehicles: a near-term reality?

It’s hard for me to envision truly “driverless” vehicles of any sort, especially in the face of the nasty winter weather currently griping my portion of the country right now. I mean, can you imagine being on a slippery ice and snow-coated road without hands on the steering wheel or foot on the brake? For that matter, can you envision a self-piloted plow truck clearing the roads? And maybe fail to “see” your car due to ice and grime buildup on its sensors?

The thing is this, however: over 90% of all accidents are caused by human failure, according to the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), so even if one fears that driverless cars might cause unintended accidents due to equipment failures, we humans ain’t doing such a great job minimizing crash risks ourselves.

That’s why an upcoming driverless car demonstration by automotive engineering giant Robert Bosch LLC at the International Consumer Electronics Show this January will prove interesting, as Bosch has been working on this technology for several years now.

The CES’s “Driverless Car Experience” will take place in the Las Vegas Convention Center Gold Plaza, located outside of North Hall, where a range of companies – Bosch included – will present a range of technologies that aim to improve vehicle traffic flow, reduce travel times and improve fuel economy.

“This event will allow people to experience close up the technologies that mark the first steps on this way and will be available in the near future,” noted Mike Mansuetti, Bosch’s president. “We predict fully automated driving beyond 2020.”

The company also plans to show off demonstration vehicles equipped with automated parking and pedestrian protection systems as well; technology based on what it calls a “stereo video camera,” being displayed for the first time in the U.S.

Needless to say, it’ll be interesting to see and hear how people react to the “driverless car” concept, especially as to whether this technology will get any legs among everyday motorists here in the U.S. That will be the real trick of course.

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