Robotic Cars.  The High Tech Revolution of the 21st Century

Robotic Cars. The High Tech Revolution of the 21st Century

We have all watched the new Lexus that parks itself with a tinge of anxiety and with much awe. But that is nothing compared with what is just coming around the corner. Much as Sputnik unleashed major changes in technology, so a new Pentagon sponsored program to build robotic vehicles by the middle of the next decade is spawning a major race to build and bring to market the robotic car of the future. It is no longer just a dream. It is already a reality and the cars are blowing people away -- literally!

We have all watched the new Lexus that parks itself with a tinge of anxiety and with much awe.  But that is nothing compared with what is just coming around the corner.  Much as Sputnik unleashed major changes in technology, so a new Pentagon sponsored program to build robotic vehicles by the middle of the next decade is spawning a major race to build and bring to market the robotic car of the future.  It is no longer just a dream.  It is already a reality and the cars are blowing people away -- literally!

In 2004, Congress required the military to replace at least a third of its fleet of logistic vehicles with robotic vehicles.   And, since then, there has been a major push to develop robotic cars and other vehicles that not only can operate on open terrain, but that can maneuver complicated and urban courses.  In the most recent test of such prototypes, universities such as Carnegie Mellon, Stanford and MIT have showcased their vehicles -- vehicles which are quickly becoming capable of sophisticated and complicated operations without on-site human intervention.  They are amazing.  There is little question, given progress to date, that the military will meet or exceed Congress' challenge.  What is even clearer is that the auto companies (existing and new ones) will begin soon to market more and more robotic features and then fully robotic cars for non-military use.

What isn't yet clear is which of the companies will take the lead and capture the market.  GM, Volkswagen, Toyota, Subaru, and Ford are all in the race at the moment.  So far, GM and Volkswagen are in the lead. 

It is hard to imagine fully how big this will be.  Rest assured, given dramatic progress already, that we are at the cusp of a new and huge technological revolution.  Indeed, we are seeing clearly now that which will change our lives a decade out.   If one can find the companies that will take the lead, there is big money to be made and major investment wins to be obtained.

 

 

 

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Comments

  • larry

    November 06, 2007

    This give a new meaning to AUTO-mobile.

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