Self-Driving Cars by Ford Planned for 2021

Self Driving Cars by Ford Planned for 2021
Over the last few years, we have seen lots of information come to light about the self-driving cars. These cars are being programed to make decisions, much like a human driver, to get its human occupants to their destination safely. There has been some controversy over whether or not these self driving automobiles are safe. That is why companies like Ford have been working hard to iron out all the kinks to have these cars safe and available as soon as possible.
On Tuesday Ford announced a series of investments going into these self driving cars. These investments show how diligently they are working to make hands free driving available. Ford has said that they are planning on having self driving cars available in 2021 for the use of parcel delivery and ride-hailing work (much like Uber or Lyft). In the later half of that decade, they are hoping to have them available for customer and pedestrian use.
There has been no word on what Ford plans to do for its ride-hailing. It appears they have not decided if they will make their own company or joining with a preexisting one like Uber. All the investments Ford has recently made show that they are trying to match the pace of companies already working toward automatic transportation. Google and Tesla have been working hard on mastering self-driving technology as well.
Ford hopes that the self-driving car will be as revolutionary as “The Ford assembly line was” according to Raj Nair, Ford’s Chief technical officer. It appears that it could be. With this technology mastered there would be a large change to driving as we know it. Americans each drive thousands of miles each year, so it is a major part of our lives. It would give the people more choices on how to get to point A to point B and could revolutionize public transportation. Having the technology to be able to have a machine drive for us, gives us even more transportation choices.

Chinese bus with elevated frame can bypass traffic from above

For some time, the concept of a road-straddling Chinese public transportation vehicle capable of completely bypassing traffic below had been floating around the web. The purported fusion of a train and a bus that could potentially make rush hour traffic a nonfactor captured many people’s interest, but for the most part, many wrote it off as simply being an optimistic idea and little more; however, Chinese engineers have managed to bring what many believed to be a fantasy into the realm of reality.

The official name for the traffic-bypassing vehicle is Transit Elevated Bus (TEB), and it just recently had its very first road test. The TEB was put through a trial in order to examine its rate of power consumption and braking responsiveness. The dimensions of the are 72’ tall x 25’ wide, and it is reported that the maximum speed should be just around 40 mph.

The entire vehicle is powered exclusively with electricity, and it is capable of carrying 300 passengers at the current point of its development. Should the project continue on, then it is expected that future renditions of the elevated bus might be capable of carrying even more than the current model’s 300 passenger limit. Before that can happen, the current version still needs to have its full capabilities examined and confirmed for practicality before it’s put to daily use. In the meantime, various other countries (such as France and Indonesia) have expressed interest in getting their own variations of the TEB in production.

Assisted Driving on the Rise in China

Business Insider reported yesterday that China is likely to experience a surge in the demand for assisted driving. Expectations are that the market for these types of systems in cars will swell to about $30 billion by 2020.

I remember the first time driving a car, and it was one of the scariest things I had ever done up to that point. It was in the parking lot of a big grocer in the area who had left their space sadly. I would drive around in loops and across the street and back, and it felt freeing. Driving on the highway was a natural extension of that experience. Feeling the car hum under my feet, gliding with the car around turns, and pushing forward gently when I came to a stop were all experiences I loved about driving. They’re experiences I want my kids to have to, especially in a world that is making every other aspect of their life increasingly technological and dependent on something that needs to be charged and could be hacked.

I think this kind of technology is cool because I’m a nerd, and nerds think all of this stuff is really cool. I just hope that in our rush to have the newest, coolest, most hands-off thing, we don’t forget that their are small parts of our lives that actually become more meaningful because of the effort we put into them…like driving.

Tech in Cars in This Must Read

Recently, news broke that a second crash of a Tesla car was being probed in the United States. It is not likely, though, that any of the advanced technologies in Tesla’s cars, including its Autopilot, was involved in the crash involving the second Tesla. However, it does provide more negative publicity and perhaps false credence to the idea that tech in cars is a bad thing.

Let me say that for people who drive or drive long ways to work, haul big loads as part of their job, or need to get far distances in a quick and reasonable amount of time, it makes sense to have a car, and it makes sense to have a car that is as technologically capable as possible. Plus, it’s really cool. It’s great that some cars can parallel park themselves now, or have an engine that turns on simply by the car connecting to a key fob. That kind of technology is great.

At the risk of sounding like a hippy, I’d like to advocate for your own two feet and bikes as a form of transportation for short rides, leisurely jaunts, or tasks and chores you are able to do. Not everyone has the ability to walk or bike, and that’s a reasonable point, but if you have the ability to, why not give the super cool and super useful high-tech car a break and get to back to basics in how you get around town.