How autonomous vehicles (AVs) will change our lives

Imagine a car that magically appeared within three minutes, summoned by your smartphone, car that recognized you, spoke to you, and obeyed your every whim. A car that cost a fifth as much as an Uber and a tenth as much as the one you used to own. A car that you never had to maintain, that never got tickets, and that you simply hopped in and out of for a modest monthly fee. A car that was five times safer than any driver – clean, quiet, and electric. Available 24/7, with no surge fees – even free during rush hours if you'll share a ride. Instead of fighting traffic, you can sit back and read, surf the web, or take a nap, gaining up to an hour of free time a day.

Click below to learn more about the autonomous vehicles (AVs) of tomorrow.

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AVs navigate using LiDAR, radar, cameras and 3D maps

AVs have LiDARs that shoot out millions of laser beams every second, plus radars and 3D cameras that are used by extremely powerful yet small computers to create detailed images. The computers use sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to classify all of the objects as far as two football fields away. AVs can see all around themselves, with no blind spots, identifying pedestrians, pets, bicycles, motorcycles, cars, trucks – they can even read road signs and traffic signals. They have already learned to interpret the hand signals of someone directing traffic, and they interpret the sounds of different types of emergency vehicles. They can be fooled, however. Once an AV was flummoxed by an older lady in an electric wheelchair who was chasing a duck around in circles with a broom – in the middle of a road. Some of these AVs now have automatic systems that call home to a central AV Call Center where human operators can take over if the car gets confused. It's nice to know that we're still needed sometimes.

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