Who will win the driverless car race?

Last updated: 11 April 2014

Let’s play a game of word association. What springs to mind when you hear ‘driverless cars’? Let me guess: Google.

Did you know, however, that there are many other brands involved in developing the concept of a driverless car? From Audi and Toyota to Mercedes, it is claimed that they actually have more chance of commercializing the first driverless car, yet Google has the advantage of technology development. This infographic from Car Loan 4u sums it up.

We have previously discussed the concept of driverless cars and how the idea of them actually transporting people on the highway is perfectly acceptable, but what’s more interesting is the technology that underlies all this innovation in the automotive space.

While car2car technology is slowly making its way from concept to reality and onto the street, recent announcements at Mobile World Congress show that cellular solutions are already finding widespread adoption, with Spotify being made available in Ford vehicles with a Sync AppLink infotainment system or Audi making 4G connectivity available for A3 vehicles. The LA Auto Show highlighted some other innovations, including the remote access app Viper Smart 3.0 allowing iPhone Siri users to command the car to start remotely. (Anyone want to play at being Batman?)

Despite all the exciting and new developments, a lot is going on underneath the hood of the car when it comes to machine-to-machine communications evolving automotive technologies. From fleet management to vehicle telematics to better manage driver safety, machine- to-machine (M2M) technology is already at work for a more convenient and secure experience.

Driverless cars and Google are making headlines when it comes to automotive innovation, however, I believe there is far more interesting work being done in connecting the vehicle with big data and M2M. So, let’s watch this space closely too.

3 thoughts on “Who will win the driverless car race?

  1. Google will win, IMO.
    I just can’t wait for this. I’ll get on the grocery store’s web site and enter my shopping list (which can then be gathered by a box boy, or, mayhaps, a robot). I will then send my Prius to to store, and he (it) will email them when he arrives. The box boy (robot) will then bring the groceries out to the car, and receive a tip from an add-on tip dispenser (or, in the case of a robot, we will give it some charge from our battery). Then, my car will return, perhaps stopping at the gas station on the way to top it off (another long story). Meanwhile, I have been in my lazy boy, watching a movie streaming from Netflix, with a window open for communications from my auto-servant savant. O brave new world, that has such autos in it!

  2. Here’s an idea that came to from ‘connected cars’: All (registered) cars are connected to a network. When needed, for example the network system forces the car to hit the brakes when the network system detects a dangerous situation and the driver fails to slow the car down.     I find this in a way more fun and interactive, since you could drive it instead of a bot and still have safety.

  3. A self driving car handling hitting snow unexpectedly will probably do better than a big percentage of drivers. If the car can’t easily sense whether the road ahead is snow/ice or dry pavement, then it may find itself having to user super fast reflexes to compensate for not adjusting it’s speed beforehand like a competent human driver would(Kinda like the numbskulls who believe that AWD gives you super traction powers that allow you to do eighty in all weather conditions).

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