The Car That Drives Itself Can Become A Reality, If Customers Accept This Idea
|   Wednesday, October 16, 2013
When customers accept that an autonomous car is a real need, automakers will start to develop such solutions. This is the opinion of the Director of TRW (TRW initially stood for "Thompson Ramo Wooldridge", formed when Thompson Products merged with Ramo-Wooldridge back in 1958), one of the largest providers of automotive radars and cameras.

Fully autonomous car - which can drive themselves, and drive passengers to their destination without the need for the driver to do anything - is a possible idea, but it is impossible for people dealing with the development of this type of car to determine a clear period for its introduction into series production.
This statement comes from John Plant, TRW company director, a leading provider of advanced equipment for major car brands. He said that the solutions for the development of such cars are not out of reach of car manufacturers, but they are still very expensive.

"A totally autonomous vehicle is conceptually possible, and I think it may become a practical reality. But the time frame is indeterminate. I think it is quite unnecessary to name a certain year [when autonomous vehicles will debut]. You have to have consumer acceptance. You have to have a real need. And I think there is a real need, particularly for younger drivers who are not as obsessed with driving as my generation was", declared the 60-year old TRW official for Automotive News.

According to the TRW official the solution to developing autonomous machines, which are based on a system of real-time communication between vehicles is a utopia: "An autonomous vehicle needs to sense where other vehicles are and the pedestrians around it. But I don't know whether it needs to tell the other vehicle, 'I am here and you are there.' What will happen with so many older vehicles on the market? There are cars that are 20 or 30 years old that won't have that capability. So you can't be dependent upon vehicle-to-vehicle communication."

John Plant also added: "Younger drivers have other things that they want to do. Do you want to spend hours on the highway when you have to totally control the car? Maybe there are other activities that you would like to do instead. The younger generation might want to text a friend, or really tune into a conversation. Adaptive cruise control is a real benefit to the consumer. What's the next stage? [The vehicle] could momentarily look after itself, and steer itself within the lane. I think that would be a real benefit. I see that as the next real frontier for the consumer."

Meanwhile, John Plant announces the fact that a radar system which analyzes what happens around the car at 360 degrees and can automatically switch bands, is being developed at TRW: "It's not in production today. It will be in production "tomorrow," whenever tomorrow is. We're on our fifth-generation radar now. We are providing increased functionality at reduced cost to get into the mass market. We estimate that this package could go into production in 3-5 years."
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