Neil Pansey on Autonomous Automobiles

"Neil G. Pansey continues his employment as Lead Engineer at Progress Energy and resides in St. Petersburg, Florida."

Neil Pansey is an electrical engineer with a special interest in human safety. He believes that autonomous vehicles – self driven cars – will become the way of the future, but that society needs to make efforts to accommodate them now.

Q: When will self-driven cars be available to the public?

Neil Pansey: Many automobile manufacturers are in the process of perfecting their autonomous vehicle technology. Some expect limited availability in a few years. However, it will take time, education, and some infrastructure changes to allow self-directed vehicles free reign of the road.

Q: What limitations do autonomous cars have that make them impractical today?

Neil Pansey: While self-driving cars have numerous advantages, they are still machines and are not capable of making complex judgment calls like a human. For instance, computer-driven vehicles cannot interpret hand signals given by traffic control professionals. These cars cannot yet recognize potentially dangerous situations, such as children darting out to catch an ice cream truck or ball that has been kicked into the street.

Q: How are autonomous vehicles superior to current cars and trucks?

Neil Pansey: Self-driving cars can be outfitted with technology that gives them a 360° view of the world around them. Since they are computers, they have a faster reaction time to certain events and are designed to avoid collisions with one another. With greater than 3000 deaths each year attributed to automobile accidents, the autonomous vehicle will, one day, save countless lives and improve the efficiency of transportation altogether.

Q: What infrastructure changes must happen for self-driving cars to behave more as humans?

Neil Pansey: Our current road system was set up for human eyes. If we were to outfit traffic signals, emergency vehicles, and construction workers with wireless devices that could communicate with self-driven vehicles, we could eliminate many of the limitations of those vehicles.

Q: Will self-driven vehicles ever be able to function exactly like humans?

Neil Pansey: The goal is to build a safer form of transportation. Humans are subject to outside influences, distractions, and motor skill impairment. The autonomous vehicles of the future will utilize advanced technology and artificial intelligence to eliminate the dangers of these human flaws and save lives.

Neil G. Pansey copyright 2016. All Rights Reserved Neil G. Pansey.
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