Google and the Future of Driving- Autonomous Cars

Posted on March 22, 2012

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Traffic- the one thing that everyone wants to avoid…besides taxes and death is profitable

Google might be made fun of for the relentless idea of a driverless car- but the goal seems pretty clear. If you take peoples’ hands off their wheels they’ve new time to surf the web and see billions of ads instead.

 

And the fantasy isn’t that far of a stretch. Car companies have already worked in their own manifestations of technology- vehicles that can parallel park themselves, warn drivers about potential collisions, etc.
Google and automobile manufacturers are doing their part to make life on the road easier. But people like Paul Mascarenas, the chief of technical officer at Ford Research and Innovation, believe that the real issue is making life on the road shorter. Much shorter. “Our theory is that you have to solve the congestion problem before you get into the vehicle technology” say Paul.

Let’s look at the facts. There are about 1 billion cars and trucks out there roaming the earth. That number is expected to climb to as much as 4 billion. Unless we manage to change our infrastructure, self driving or not, these cars are in for one thing- lots and lots of traffic jams.

 

In Ford’s eyes, the future of driving will include vehicle to vehicle communication. Cars would be able to talk to each other, sharing locations and speed, making for a safer, more aware driving environment, and possible aiding the creation of “smart intersections.” Ford has also explored ways for people to pay for tolls, bus fares, and train tickets from a single space, in hopes of expediting payment systems.

 

One of the biggest aspects of any advancement in traffic is studying traffic counts. MarketMAPS utilizes both TIGER and NAVTEQ traffic data, as well as accurate geographic data in order to bring companies like Ford the best visual tools possible. Accurately aligned traffic counts means accurate planning, and faster solutions.

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