Autonomous Driving?

Autonomous driving? It’s already here. This automated warehouse shows us just how accurate current technology is. With the current pace of development in all technologies like this, we can be sure the driverless truck is not far away, at least in controlled environments. Once the systems get smarter, the areas where they can be used will get bigger.

 Probably the biggest change will not be in the technology used but in our attitude towards it. We are already becoming used to autonomous systems, we just don’t realise they are autonomous.

At the moment we already have adaptive cruise control to maintain the distance to the vehicle ahead. There are also lane-keeping systems which warn us if we veer out of our lane. It’s a short step to the steering being pushed, autonomously, back to keep us in the lane.

At that point we have a vehicle capable of keeping in its lane and able to avoid crashing into the vehicle ahead. We are a long way along the six steps to a completely autonomous vehicle.

One of the other major changes that is already happening is the ability of roadside furniture to communicate with the cars and trucks on the road. The traffic lights can tell the truck it’s about to turn red. The truck can say it’s coming along the road with a heavy load and needs the lights to stay green for longer than usual to get the load through.

 These are just a few examples of the kind of things that are likely to start appearing on our horizon. That horizon is getting closer, faster than we think.

In the video below, we are not quite sure what is going on, but whatever it is, it’s happening real fast and with very little human interaction involved. However, it is a little gratifying to see there is still at least one human forklift driver in this massive Amazon warehouse/distribution facility.