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Newsletter #12: Autonomous cars are on the roads now and will hit the market around 2018! How will this affect your business (Part 2)?

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IT Maturity, Inc. Newsletter #2

Autonomous cars are on the roads now and will hit the market around 2018! How will this affect your business? 

Google has announced that they have accumulated 140,000 miles for their autonomous vehicles on public roads.  General Motors has been claiming since 2008 that they will have autonomous vehicles on the market around 2018.  Are we really that close?

Yes! Back in the mid 1980's if a researcher wrote in a research paper that his autonomous vehicle went more than a hundred feet, he had to produce a video to prove it.  By 2004 not much more progress had been made.  The best vehicles were doing only thousands of feet.  DARPA challenged the community and in a March 2004 desert competition one vehicle miraculously attained a distance of 7 miles. The following year five different vehicles completed the full hundred mile plus course, including a team from Louisiana which had just been hit by a category five hurricane. 

The next challenge in 2007 added the complexity of traffic in an urban environment.  This time six teams finished the 55 mile course successfully. Progress is swift, will your business keep up with the changes.

What will be the impact? How long will it take before all vehicles are autonomous?  Will all professional drivers be put out of business?  Will this have a greater impact than the replacement of horses with cars?  What will happen to automobile insurance? What about the 400,000 hospital beds a year emptied as car crashes disappear? What about the disappearance of 2 million arrests a year for drunk driving? Will there be such a thing as a traffic ticket anymore?

What happens when this evolving technology is put into kitchen appliances, gardening equipment, and other products?  How will your business environment be affected? Don't be left behind.

IT Maturity, Inc. provides training on how to integrate IT advances into the processes, products, and services of your business.

How can you know if your business will be affected in the mid-term by these advances?  If your industry will be affected, you need to start making your plans now in order to stay ahead of the curve. The primary variables to be aware of include whether your products and services are highly used and repetitive. Driving, food preparation, food production, are highly used and repetitive. In the next five to ten years of automation, problems like these have a high likelihood of also being realized.

Years ago science fiction writers  pictured vehicles being driven by androids. But this is not how vehicles are becoming autonomous.  Instead sensors, actuators, processors, and telecommunications are being added to make vehicles autonomous. Thus, any highly used and repetitive activity that might be automated will similarly need to be able to use simple to moderately complex actuators, sensors, and communications, as well as emerging complex computation systems to parallel what is happening with autonomous vehicles.

While complex sensors and actuators might be necessary to manipulate the kitchen of today, it is easy to imagine a kitchen of tomorrow that does not require complex actuators (see Newsletter #4). As kitchens are the most commonly remodeled part of the home it is highly likely that the changes needed to realize automated kitchens in the near to mid-term will fall into place.



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