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A driverless robot car with brains may be road ready by 2030, according to Sebastian Thrun, a great mind in self-driving vehicle development

Speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in San Francisco, Sebastian Thrun, a Stanford University computer science and electrical engineering professor, estimated that robot-driven cars will be road ready by 2030

Thrun cited strong advances in the development of artificial intelligence as one of the main reasons that the world could see driverless cars by 2030.  Along with not having a human driver controlling the car, new vehicles should also function properly in a simulated city environment.  
 
Thrun is regarded as one of the world's most successful and innovative manufacturers of self-driving vehicles.  Thrun's team previously won a $2 million prize after "Stanley," a modified Volkswagen Tourage, won a US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) contest in October of 2005.  Another DARPA challenge in November will feature rule changes that force teams to have their cars obey traffic laws, deal with obstacles and basic road conditions, other vehicles, etc.

It is more likely that robot-driven cars will be seen on battlefields and other hostile environments rather than public roads any time soon, according to Thrun.

Stanford plans to enter "Junior," a converted 2006 Volkswagen Passat that has had its throttle, brakes and steering altered so a computer is able to control them.  The car will be navigated via satellite GPS, with a number of lasers located on Junior's bumpers -- the lasers will be able to look multiple directions and has a range up to 50 yards.


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Probably true
By rockyct on 2/19/2007 5:10:12 PM , Rating: 2
I have very little doubt that there will be computer driven cars in 25 years, but I think a lot of you guys have some serious misconceptions.

Computer driven cars does not mean it will drive you from your home in the suburbs to your office downtown, all while you take a nap or read the paper. While that could end up happening, you'll probably see a gradual introduction of computerized driving. It will probably start with a dedicated freeway lane just for cars that have been retrofitted or came with it built in on a new car. It will gradually get more popular from there as dedicated freeway lanes increase and the cost decreases.

It will not be the death of sports cars as use of computerized freeway lanes would not be required. It's not like you can actually use the performance of a sports car during rush hour traffic. Plus, it will probably be a while before actual roads with traffic lights, pedestrians, and the like are computer driving capable.




RE: Probably true
By masher2 (blog) on 2/19/2007 6:12:05 PM , Rating: 3
> "you'll probably see a gradual introduction of computerized driving. It will probably start with a dedicated freeway lane..."

You're absolutely correct, but you'll see those first steps a lot sooner than 2030. You can almost get automated freeway driving today, with the combination of cruise control and some of the more advanced collision avoidance systems on high-end sedans. You're essentially doing nothing but the steering at that point. I'd bet that in 10-15 years, you'll see vehicles doing that as well...as long as you stay on the freeway, and there's a human behind the wheel to take over in case of unusual circumstances.


RE: Probably true
By ElJefe69 on 2/20/2007 11:04:13 AM , Rating: 2
the highway and traffic division of our great USA has infinite money and does not care about more money. There is no greed incentive to have automated anything as far as the goverment goes. it will lower fuel usage and create less jobs for cops and guys who fill pot holes with crappy material and get 3x overtime for useless putting salt down on dry roads during a 1 inch snow "blizzard".


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