Someone who read my last blog pointed out that I could have gone into a little more detail regarding my experience actually riding in a driverless car. Fair point…it was a big deal!!
Bosch, the world’s largest automobile supplier, was one of many to have a live demonstration at the Automated Vehicles Symposium in Detroit last week. Unlike many of the demonstrations, however, Bosch was actually letting people sit in the car while they demonstrated their driverless functionality (after signing my life away on a waiver, of course).
I was in the backseat and watched as the driver pulled out of the parking lot and drove on local roads towards the highway (nothing unusual there). Once we merged onto the highway, a screen sitting above the dashboard signified that the car was available to be driverless. The driver pushed a button that, essentially, agreed, and the car took over driving. It slowed down when the vehicles in front of us slowed down and seemed to easily stay between the lines. I was impressed.
Technically, this was not a fully autonomous vehicle; it was “integrated highway assist.” This means that the vehicle can travel up to 75 miles per hour on the highway, remaining within its lane, while the motorist keeps his eyes on the road. Here is an article that shows Bosch’s plans to introduce autonomous technology into its vehicles. It’s a step in the right direction though!