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Driverless Car Technology: Vehicles Will Be ‘Fully Autonomous’ by 2025, Ford Says

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(Photo : REUTERS/Gary Cameron ) Autonomous cars may become the norm sooner than later.

The British government revealed plans to allow driverless cars to be tested on UK roads by the end of the year.

According to Fox News, The UK's Department for Transport announced the news in part with a greater strategy to invest $42 billion in the road networks. The nation's highways suffer from severe congestion; autonomous cars may help solve the problem. 

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Oxford University's team has been testing driverless car, or autonomous  technology. with a Nissan Leaf on their private land. They soon be able to test their new technology on public roads.

"It's a great area to be working in because it's IT and computers and that's what changes things," Oxford team leader Paul Newman told the BBC. "The British government sees that engineering is important."

Last year, Nevada became the first U.S. state to allow driverless cars on its roads. California and Florida quickly followed. 

Meanwhile, Ford executive chairman Bill Ford Jr. said that driverless technology is essential to cope "with the expected global proliferation of vehicles from today's one billion to four billion by 2050." He also said that we should be able to expect that all cars would be autonomous by 2025.

RobotCar is one of the first vehicles to function without a driver. RobotCar is a low-cost, autonomous system operated by using a trunk-based computer that communicates with the driver through an iPad. The system uses a small camera and lasers to memorize journeys. The car, costing only $7750, is able to respond to the presence of pedestrians and other cars by altering speeds. 

There are several ethical implications surrounding driverless cars. As Wall Street Journal editor Michael Hickens points out, machines cannot have instincts. "The same kind of ethical calculation will have to be made regarding driverless cars that get involved in accidents: ram into the old lady, or crush the baby stroller? Human drivers have instincts, but machines have to have logic programmed in ahead of time."

 

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