In case you haven’t noticed, we’re on the cusp of a big moment for the automotive industry.
Companies like Google, Apple, and Tesla are working on a new project: cars. Instead of smartphones and computers, high-tech companies in Silicon Valley are spending their time rethinking the automobile.
What’s with the $4 billion?
To help, the Department of Transportation has set aside $4 billion for the 2017 budget. The goal is to help each state come up with its own plan for driverless cars. That’s right—driverless.
High-tech companies realized that so many collisions happen because drivers get distracted, tired, or bored while driving. Even if a driver is alert and focused, they are still limited to what the human eye can see.
Silicon Valley’s solution for this is to help cars see and communicate with one another. Even if the driver doesn’t notice that a collision is about to happen, the car will, and can ideally prevent the collision from happening.
Give me an example of this driverless hooey
It’s kind of like those old word problems about Sam traveling toward Sue at 10 mph, and Sue traveling toward Sam at 20 mph. If they’re 5 miles apart, how long will it take them to meet?
This is the math of a collision, and computers excel at math. Theoretically, if you allow cars to compute the math of everything around them, we could get rid of collisions entirely.
The DOT’s $4 billion is to help get these cars out on the road all over the country learning what works and what doesn’t. As automakers work with Silicon Valley on building cars with this technology, they can figure out where they need guidance from the DOT.
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With the DOT, Silicon Valley, and automakers working together, we should be able to have smarter, safer cars within a few years. Nissan will be working on driverless technology to be sure, and we’ll update you as we learn more.
What do you think about cars that are better at math than you? Should they be given the SAT? Tell us on Facebook what would be the equivalent of high school and adolescence for cars now that they’re taking algebra and precalculus.