Please meet Budii, the autonomous car – RCR Wireless News

Harman is working with Rinspeed along with other industry players on Budii the autonomous car. Sitting inside made it feel closer to being a reality soon.

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This is a great example of a future concept car. It has the ability to be driven normally, or for the steering wheel to fold into the dashboard and give you more room. However this denies you the ability to quickly take over in critical circumstances. This is something I’d want to have for that odd situation that the car computer can’t deal with, like getting rear ended or T-boned, where accelerating might be the answer; especially if that includes things like making a judgement call to break the law.

My wife has been rear ended twice while stationery at a red light, where the only way to avoid the situation would have been to drive across to a safety strip or to cross through a red light. Either would have been preferable to years of neck problems.

At this stage Google has shown that it’s cars don’t think that way and possibly won’t because they will be programmed to follow road rules, which means if you are stationary at a red light and some idiot who is txting and drives into you at 30 miles an hour, that you cannot break the law to save yourself.

The Budii gets it’s seating, climate control and other settings from your smartphone, fob or wearable technology and is designed to be able to talk to other IoT (Internet of Things) devices. That might mean automatically opening your gate or garage when you arrive home at night, perhaps turning on the house lights and unlocking the front door.

A great example of where this car is smart is things like being able to communicate with or understand traffic light signals. Traffic signals engineers try to optimize signals so that if you drive at the right speed, you can get green lights all the way up a road.

This innovation in the Budii is because of the inherent delays at starting from a green light. Classic scenario’s I see are the first person at the green light change is on his phone and it takes 3 or 4 seconds to get going. The second car a couple of seconds, the 3rd car a little bit faster, because they know what is going on, the SUV takes a bit longer because it is heavy and takes a bit longer to get started. The next car is frustrated because of the slowness of the cars in front and in my city there is a mentality that ‘if all the cars in front had taken off as soon as the lights turned green, I would have got through as well, so it’s only fair that I still power through as the light turns red just before I get to the intersection.’

A car therefore that knows when the lights are going to turn green could drive up a street at the exact speed required to synchronize with the green lights and never have to stop. This is the next best thing to a ‘green wave’. Other cars, behind this vehicle could be forced into benefiting from the smart-car’s action even while wondering why it isn’t driving at the maximum speed limit. Not only would this make for smoother driving, it means less fuel and less wear and tare on the running gear and less CO2 emissions.

The only catch is the ability of the driver-less car to comprehend that other cars will not obey the signs and could be barreling up from a side street through a red light, that legally they should have stopped for, the one I mentioned a few paragraphs up. This happens at least once or twice on pretty much every drive I take. Unfortunately red light runners are something we all expect and most people I know will, under pressure, admit they have done it themselves, although they had a better reason.

Google have made it clear that their cars have not caused the accidents they have been in. It is equally clear that they weren’t programmed to deal with ambiguity. I was talking to someone the other day who is teaching their daughter to drive and he quoted the time old phrase, “drive as though every other car is driven by an idiot.”

I don’t think that tomorrow’s cars will have sufficient fuzzy logic to comprehend that concept, or when to apply it. Again I also refer to people who will deliberately try to confuse driverless cars.

Aggressive driving is something car manufacturers are trying to create algorithms to spot, with a view to avoiding them. I would love to see it, but there are so many variations and reasons for this behavior, some of it even being necessary, for example if you want to change lanes in Auckland, you need to be assertive or people just won’t let you in. You still indicate, do your best to ensure that the person behind the gap you want to fill is aware of you wanting to do that, but the gap won’t stay open long and you could find yourself heading in the wrong direction, perhaps off the motorway altogether.

If you want to avoid aggressive behaviour o the road and program your car to drive to calmer locations, you won’t have any options, I don’t think you will find many.

See on Scoop.itLocation Is Everywhere

About Luigi Cappel

Writer for hire, marketing consultant specialising in Location Based Services. Futurist and Public Speaker Auckland, New Zealand
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