As of July 29th, two electric vans embarked from Belgrade, Serbia on a three-month road trip to Shanghai, China. Along the way, they will have to manage stop-and-go city traffic, extremes in weather, and even some stretches of off-road driving. All this would be a great test for their electric drive system, but the researchers from Italy’s VisLab put this expedition together mainly to test something else: their driverless vehicle technology. While each of the vans in the VisLab Intercontinental Autonomous Challenge (VIAC) will have passengers in the back seats, ready to take control if necessary, they will normally have no one at the steering wheel.
Wayward drivers could soon be getting a nudge in the right direction thanks to a computer program created by researchers from North Carolina State University. The program allows a computer to understand what a camera is looking at and makes decisions based on what it sees. If a car strays from its lane the program will detect the lane change and set the car back on course without human control.
In terms of teaching secondary students relevant and very useful life skills, there could be no better investment at every secondary school than Honda’s all-new automobile driving simulator. Honda has been developing bicycle
and car driving simulators solely for the purpose of traffic safety education for almost a decade, and the this model is completely new from the ground up, designed specifically to enhance the ability of driver trainees to recognize, understand and appropriately react to potential risks. In a world where becoming part of the road toll is a daily risk we all share, one wonders at just how many lives a US$66,000 machine like this might save?
The team at the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford (CARS) are aiming to send a specially-equipped robotic Audi at break-neck speed up the tight bends that lead to Pikes Peak without a driver … something that hasn’t been done before.
Vehicles are slowly but surely heading towards a future where the driver is almost irrelevant. A raft of new technologies will be employed to control a vehicle’s performance, speed and steering. Eventually leading to vehicles that drive themselves
. Many Technologies designed to assist drivers are already reaching fruition including systems that recognize tiredness in drivers
or control the throttle and brakes
for the duration of a journey. The latest driver assist technology to catch our eye comes out of the Massachusetts Institute of technology (MIT
), where researchers are creating an in-car personal robot that is designed to offer the same kind of guidance as “an informed and friendly companion.”
Being a long-haul truck driver is by no means the safest job in the world, but it could be a lot more dangerous than most of us think. Figures released by the commercial drivers’ International Road Transport Union, the IRU, show that 17 percent of Europe’s long-haul truck drivers are victims of robbery during work-hours at some time over a five-year period. And thefts from long-haul trucks total in the region of EUR€8.2 billion (US$12 billion approx.) – every year. New initiatives by Volvo Trucks and the EU are being undertaken to improve driver safety and prevent these thefts. One particular anti-theft device in development is a lockable fifth wheel that can be remotely controlled, thus preventing the trailer from being separated from the truck and disappearing.