Google isn’t the only one making the push for intelligent driving AKA driverless cars. One of the world’s oldest and most successful auto makers say they have been working on it for 30 years (before Google even existed), and they already have results to show for it.
Back in 2013, Mercedes-Benz driverless car completed a 64-mile road trip without any human help. That is about the distance between Lagos and Ibadan.
The car is able to spot empty parking lot spots and park by itself neatly too – something that quite a number of human drivers seem incapable of doing without messing up (if you don’t believe me, walk through Ikeja Shopping Mall at Alausa, Lagos to see the variety of bewildering parking that goes on there).
Mercedes’ self-driving car is equipped with an array of 4 cameras and 12 sensors. These include:
- a colour camera mounted behind the windshield to read stoplights
- long-range radars to detect oncoming vehicles
- a stereo camera to function like human eyes to detect distant objects
- a rear-facing camera designed to detect landmarks entered into a digital map
More sensors are in development for a richer driving experience.
Navigational assistance for Mercedes-Benz’s driverless car is provided by Nokia’s HERE Maps, the same platform that BlackBerry’s QNX infotainment system has partnered with to power connected cars from Acura, Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Daewoo, Ford, Hyundai, Porsche, Land Rover and Saab. While BlackBerry is no longer a major player in the smartphone space, its QNX (same OS that powers BB10 devices) remains the number one platform for connected cars. Google is also pushing to have Android OS integrated into cars.
While driverless cars are not commercial or legal yet, the world is very close to a whole new way of living, once again powered by mobile technology. Perhaps indeed the automobile is the ultimate mobile device.