My First Experience in a Driverless Car

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!

About Lauren Isaac

Lauren Isaac is the Director of Business Initiatives for the North American operation of EasyMile. Easymile provides electric, driverless shuttles that are designed to cover short distances in multi-use environments. Prior to working at EasyMile, Lauren worked at WSP where she was involved in various projects involving advanced technologies that can improve mobility in cities. Lauren wrote a guide titled “Driving Towards Driverless: A Guide for Government Agencies” regarding how local and regional governments should respond to autonomous vehicles in the short, medium, and long term. In addition, Lauren maintains the blog, “Driving Towards Driverless”, and has presented on this topic at more than 75 industry conferences. She recently did a TEDx Talk, and has been published in Forbes and the Chicago Tribune among other publications.
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