The IoT & Autonomous Driving
When we think of the IoT, a lot of us still focus on fairly localized concepts. For instance, we imagine how IoT devices might change our homes or office spaces, or how a single device connected to a computer can assist us with our workouts. However, some of the more significant implications of the IoT are somewhat more broad. For instance, if we are truly on our way toward a universal network of self-driving vehicles in a matter of years, it will be with thanks to IoT concepts and technologies.
That’s because the very idea of autonomous cars relies on sensors and devices communicating constantly with one another. There’s tremendous intricacy to it all, but one article explaining the basics did a pretty good job of outlining self-driving cars in a nutshell. Basically, these vehicles are outfitted with advanced GPS units, internal navigations systems, and ranges of sensors that interact with the car’s surroundings to determine its position and what’s going on in the immediate area. That’s about as strong an example of the IoT at work as you can find in day-to-day life—or at least, it will be.
The remaining question is when we’ll actually see the rollout of self-driving vehicles on a large scale. There are all kinds of varying reports on the progress being made by different companies in on this business. One overview of the status of the self-driving evolution put things in pretty tantalizing terms: robot cars are coming to a city near you. More specifically, this overview pointed to Ford Motor Company, Uber, and Volvo as companies that are more or less combining to target some time early in the next decade for a large-scale rollout of autonomous vehicles. And that’s not to mention other names like Tesla, Lyft, and even Apple and Google putting their fingerprints on the process in their own different ways.
In other words, there are enough big names in on this idea to inspire confidence that we’ll be seeing autonomous cars soon. And most of the remaining hurdles don’t necessarily have to do with IoT-related flaws so much as decisions to be made with regard to safety and regulation. For instance, one major talking point that has arisen just this year is whether or not a self-driving car can be programmed with a moral compass to be used in dangerous situations. People are starting to wonder whether a human driver and a robotic one would in fact make the same decisions in terms of prioritizing safety or loss of life at a moment’s notice. This is something that will need to be worked out across the entire industry.
Regardless of remaining issues, however, a universal network of self-driving vehicles appears to be on the way within five or ten years. And once it’s here it will be one of the most impressive and visual exhibitions of the IoT’s power that we’ll have seen yet.