The Army's four-unit convoy will operate on I-69 and use short-range communications to transmit data between vehicles and a series of road-side sensors.
The march towards autonomous vehicles is far from limited to the civilian sector, as the military has been doggedly pursuing the idea of driverless vehicles for several years. Its latest initiative seeks to introduce a line of autonomous vehicles by a target date of 2025, according to the Army Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center.
If you had told us a decade ago that Google, of all companies, would be developing a driverless car, we likely would have asked you what you were smoking. But here we are, watching the Internet giant not only testing such systems on existing cars, but designing its own vehicles. It won't be the only one, it seems, as reports from China indicate that one of its own is following suit.
An increasing number of people are starting to consider the potential downsides of a transition to autonomous cars. The FBI is already looking at them for the potential ill effects on law enforcement, and a scientist for Toyota is raising the possibility that driverless vehicles could actually be detrimental to the environment over the long term.
Ask any car engineer what's the biggest variable in achieving fuel economy targets, and he'll tell you "the driver." If one human can't understand human driving behavior enough to be certain about an innocuous number like miles per gallon, how is an autonomous car supposed to figure out what hundreds of other drivers are going to do in the course of a day? Ford has enlisted the help of Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to find out.