Elon Musk thinks his company Tesla will have fully autonomous cars available by the end of 2020.
However, there are some fundamental challenges to the safe introduction of these cars before they can be on our roads.
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Autonomous cars use several sensors to detect objects such as pedestrians, other vehicles, and road signs.
However, bad weather, heavy traffic, road signs with graffiti on them all interfere with the accuracy of its sensing capability. To enable true autonomous cars, these sensors have to work in all weather conditions anywhere on the planet.
Currently, there is no widely accepted and agreed basis for ensuring that the machine learning algorithms used in the vehicles are safe.
Autonomous vehicles will use artificial intelligence and machine learning to process the data collected from its sensors to help make decisions about their next actions. The algorithms will help identify the objects detected by the sensors and classify them according to the system's training.
Once an autonomous car is on the road, it will continue to learn. It will detect new objects and be subject to software updates.
The system should continue to be just as safe as its previous version and not forget previously learned behaviors. It should be able to show that any new learning is safe. The industry still has to reach an agreement on these points.
Without recognized regulations and standards, self-driving cars will not be allowed on the road.
Currently, there are no sufficient standards and regulations for a whole autonomous system. The criteria for the safety of existing vehicles assume the presence of a human driver to take over.
Social acceptability is an issue for those wishing to buy a self-driving car and others who will share the road as numerous automated and autonomous vehicles have been in high-profile accidents.
There is a risk of rejection of this technology if the public is not considered in the decisions about the introduction and adoption of self-driving vehicles. Without collaboration on how to make the car safe and provide evidence of that safety, this project will not gain traction.
Wearable sports bands that measure your heart rate are nothing new, but as numerous studies have shown, the accuracy can vary wildly
Using a single lead ECG printed into the fabric, this new t-shirt from smart materials company KYMIRA will accurately measure heart beats and upload them to the cloud via Bluetooth. Once there, algorithms process the data to accurately detect irregular heartbeats such as arrhythmia heart beats, which could prove life saving.
And it’s not just athletes who could benefit. “The possibilities this product offers both sportspeople and the general public is astonishing,” says Tim Brownstone, CEO and founder of KYMIRA. “We envisage developing this product to be used for clinical applications to allow those who may already suffer with heart conditions enough warning of a heart attack.”
Science fiction, by definition, is science that isn’t real. But looking beyond the fantastical elements there are some very innovative ideas, a lot of which have had a real influence on modern technology. Here are some examples: