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Fully autonomous vehicles, also known as driverless cars, already exist in prototype (such as the Google driverless car), and are expected to be commercially available around 2020. According to urban designer and futurist Michael E. Arth, driverless electric vehicles?in conjunction with the increased use of virtual reality for work, travel, and pleasure?could reduce the world's 800 million vehicles to a fraction of that number within a few decades.59 This would be possible if almost all private cars requiring drivers, which are not in use and parked 90% of the time, would be traded for public self-driving taxis that would be in near constant use. This would also allow for getting the appropriate vehicle for the particular need?a bus could come for a group of people, a limousine could come for a special night out, and a Segway could come for a short trip down the street for one person. Children could be chauffeured in supervised safety, DUIs would no longer exist, and 41,000 lives could be saved each year in the US alone.6061
Car - history
The first working steam-powered vehicle was designed?and most likely built?by Ferdinand Verbiest, a Flemish member of a Jesuit mission in China around 1672. It was a 65-cm-long scale-model toy for the Chinese Emperor that was unable to carry a driver or a passenger.72122 It is not known if Verbiest's model was ever built.22
Cugnot's 1771 fardier ? vapeur, as preserved at the Musée des Arts et Métiers, Paris
Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot is widely credited with building the first full-scale, self-propelled mechanical vehicle or car in about 1769; he created a steam-powered tricycle.23 He also constructed two steam tractors for the French Army, one of which is preserved in the French National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts.24 His inventions were, however, handicapped by problems with water supply and maintaining steam pressure.24 In 1801, Richard Trevithick built and demonstrated his Puffing Devil road locomotive, believed by many to be the first demonstration of a steam-powered road vehicle. It was unable to maintain sufficient steam pressure for long periods, and was of little practical use.
The development of external combustion engines is detailed as part of the history of the car, but often treated separately from the development of true cars. A variety of steam-powered road vehicles were used during the first part of the 19th century, including steam cars, steam buses, phaetons, and steam rollers. Sentiment against them led to the Locomotive Acts of 1865.
About Autonomous car vs automated
Autonomous means having the power for self-governance.8 Many historical projects related to vehicle autonomy have in fact only been automated (made to be automatic) due to a heavy reliance on artificial hints in their environment, such as magnetic strips. Autonomous control implies good performance under significant uncertainties in the environment for extended periods of time and the ability to compensate for system failures without external intervention.8 As can be seen from many projects mentioned, it is often suggested to extend the capabilities of an autonomous car by implementing communication networks both in the immediate vicinity (for collision avoidance) and far away (for congestion management). By bringing in these outside influences in the decision process, some would no longer regard the car's behaviour or capabilities as autonomous; for example Wood et al. (2012) writes "This Article generally uses the term "autonomous," instead of the term "automated." The term "autonomous" was chosen because it is the term that is currently in more widespread use (and thus is more familiar to the general public). However, the latter term is arguably more accurate. "Automated" connotes control or operation by a machine, while "autonomous" connotes acting alone or independently. Most of the vehicle concepts (that we are currently aware of) have a person in the driver?s seat, utilize a communication connection to the Cloud or other vehicles, and do not independently select either destinations or routes for reaching them. Thus, the term "automated" would more accurately describe these vehicle concepts".9