Self-Driving Cars Are Gaining Momentum

Most of us would agree that one of the absolute best auto careers out there is building robot cars. Granted, a huge portion of the joy we get from cars comes when we’re actually driving, there is something pretty amazing about the idea of being driven around by a robotic chauffeur.

Last year, we spoke a little about the rise in driver-less cars by shedding some light on Google’s breakthrough robotic technology. But Google isn’t the only one who wants a piece of the robot pie. There are many more car makers out there who having their go at the self-driving action.

At the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Audi unveiled what it called a “piloted driving” system and put on a demonstration of it driving through a parking lot. When a driver selects the pilot system, the car can move through traffic jams or park itself into a spot. While this car is still in the concept phase, receiving the green light from the State of Nevada to test self-driving cars means the technology is swiftly progressing.

Check out this quick demo video of Audi’s self-driving car:


Across the ocean, a research team at Oxford University has developed robotic technology in self-driving cars that we might actually be able to afford. The car uses a low-cost navigation system that can recognize its surroundings using small cameras and lasers. An iPad on the dashboard controls the technology, enabling the car to take over from the driver for part of a journey by flashing a prompt offering to take the wheel. Touching the screen then switches to “auto drive” where the robotic system takes control. Similar to the cruise control option we’ve all seen in most cars, Oxford’s car will stop if there’s an obstacle on the road and the driver can always take back control by tapping the brake pedal.

Check out this video of the Oxford Robot Car!

What this means to the average automotive technician is that driving will be inevitably shifting towards using computer controls in the coming years. That means more specific training with hybrid technologies to adapt to the changing industry. These cars still need a lot of testing to prove they are safe but it just goes to show that automotive careers are getting more exciting all the time!

Would you like to ride in a self-driving car? What kinds of opportunities could this mean for an auto mechanic of the future? 

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