Autonomous Vehicles Gain Momentum

Bob Ulrich
Posted on May 30, 2019

It seems autonomous vehicles continue to pique the interest of journalists everywhere, and that includes me. I have gone on record as saying they won't take over our highways anytime soon because there are too many obstacles to overcome first.

But technology keeps advancing, and more companies are jumping on the bandwagon. Here are two recent examples.

First, Apple Inc. has patented a system designed to help self-driving cars correct slipping tires. "Essentially, it's a new process that could give a self-driving car a clearer picture of how fast it is traveling and how much steering input is needed for a particular situation," wrote Sean Szymkowski for motorauthority.com, which is part of the Internet Brands Automotive Group. Here's how it works.

1. Two sensors on the bottom of a vehicle measure "reflected electromagnetic waves to understand vehicle speed." They also measure tire angle and "alert the self-driving system to unexpected movements that could be caused due to poor weather or other conditions."

2. The sensors feed the information to the vehicle, "which can cross-check the data with inertial sensors and GPS."

Second, WOIO Channel 19 out of Cleveland, Ohio, reported the U.S. Postal Service is testing self-driving trucks, specifically big rigs that deliver the mail to the post office. "Testing is being done on a route between Dallas and Phoenix, said the newscaster.

From what I have heard, trucking fleets will "go autonomous" before cars and light trucks do. As for self-driving cars, they make more sense in inner-city areas like New York City, at least initially.

I still think we are at least a decade out before fully autonomous vehicles become a significant part of our nation's car parc. But six months ago I thought it would be at least twice that long.

Related Topics: Apple, autonomous vehicles, B.O.B., passenger tires, truck tires

Bob Ulrich Editor
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