OCT 14, 2016 12:59 PM PDT

The World of Self-Driving Cars

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Autonomous cars, also known as self-driving cars, sound less and less like science fiction every day. Already tech giants like Google and Tesla have created impressive prototypes. And experts predict that these cars will become consumer ready by the year 2020. But what would it take for this to happen?

For a car to operate on its own and carry passengers from point A to point B, many hundreds of variables need to be sorted out by the car's computers. Aside from the obvious path navigation, the car needs to detect all sorts of obstacles, read road signs, maintain speed, and process weather conditions, among many other factors. While human drivers do these things almost instinctively, designing a sophisticated computer that can process and respond to the challenges of driving is not trivial in the least.

So far, engineers have their work cut out for them. However, every new milestone nudges us closer to a world where, hopefully, traffic accidents are down and productivity is up!
About the Author
I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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