AUTOMATED CARS: Driverless vehicles are closer to appearing on our roads than you might think, with trials happening around the world including right here in Australia.
AUTOMATED CARS: Driverless vehicles are closer to appearing on our roads than you might think, with trials happening around the world including right here in Australia. Michael Sohnap

NERD IS THE WORD: Computer-driven cars may prove safer

CARS are designed to meet a certain level of safety, and when we buy a car, the safety star rating plays a large part in our choice.

But what if we could forget about making cars that help you survive a car crash, but instead, we could focus on cars that would prevent crashes entirely?

I'm talking about automated vehicles, which have already been tested on roads around the world, including right here in Australia.

We've imagined the day when no-one holds a licence, and perhaps you've even imagined the day when driving becomes as recreational as Go Karting.

But the biggest potential to automated vehicles lies within the public transport and freight transport industries.

This month a driverless truck was tested on a highway in Germany and what made this test particularly interesting, was that it didn't make the driver redundant.

Here's how it worked: the driver pushed a "highway pilot" button when entering a highway, and simply watched as the truck drove itself, reaching speeds up to 80kmh, for the length of the highway.

Now imagine how many less crashes there would be on highways if a truck driver could nap through them. I'm thinking about our own notorious Pacific Hwy.

But the potential for automated buses in our region is also worth celebrating about because there's not much more awkward than a bus trip where you are the only passenger.

Or when the bus doesn't even show up.

Or worse, there's not even a bus stop near you.

If you could use an app to call or schedule a minibus to your location, it could calculate an efficient route to pick up as many passengers as possible and inefficient bus routes would be a thing of the past.

However there are two things I look forward to most about automated vehicles: firstly, no longer paying for my own car, and secondly, utilising 40-60 minute commute times by actually starting the day's work in the car.

What a better (not to mention cheaper) use of time!



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