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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Autopilot Cars

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Autopilot Cars

There has been a lot of talk about autopilot cars in the past years, and a lot of confusion. This advancement in technology has jump-started the process of using robots to replace humans for work, and the same technique has been applied to driving as well.

But, what exactly are autopilot cars? What do they do? What should we know? To shed a bit of light on the topic, we decided to list five things you could have missed since the release of Tesla’s first autopilot car in October 2014.

1. Autopilot vs. Autonomous

Autopilot cars, contrary to popular belief, are not autonomous cars. Autonomous cars would mean you can give your car the name of a location, press a button, and let it drive you there without you having to lift a finger in the process. You would arrive at your destination without having to focus on the road or your driving whatsoever.

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Autopilot cars on the other hand, like the Tesla, can’t do that yet. Autopilot cars can adjust their speed depending on the cars that are around them, search for parking spaces, self-park, and can even change lanes and drive for long distances alone, but they are not fully autonomous.

2. Future Projects

Although autopilot cars are already coming into the market, they are still far from perfect. It’s true that they have some abilities that normal cars do not, but saying they are without any flaws would be a mistake. Tesla’s autopilot cars, even though released, are considered “public” betas and require a lot of caution. Tesla autopilot failures have at times also posed questions of the future of autonomous cars, which is certainly a big problem for the future of the technology.[1]

This said, Tesla Motors’ co-founder, CEO, and product architect, Elon Musk, still advises that the driver is ready to take control of the vehicle by having his or her hands ready to take over the wheel should something go wrong. Fully autonomous cars should come into existence in about three years, but getting permission for official use could take several more.

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3. Safer Roads

If more autopilot cars are put onto roads, it is estimated that the streets will be much safer.[2] How? Most accidents are caused by the driver. Whether it is by speeding, drunk-driving, drug use, hazardous or selfish driving, or an overall lack of experience. A car on autopilot cannot commit to the same faults as a human driver can. The only time autopilot cars could put the driver in danger would be if the driver themselves interfere, or if the car was poorly produced with insufficient sensory systems.[3] It is estimated that if up to 85-90% of cars on the roads today were changed to autopilot cars, 4.2 billion accidents would be avoided.

4. Safety Alerts

As of September 2016, Tesla decided to implement another feature into their autopilot cars to increase safety. The feature is a pretty big and intriguing update that won’t let the driver be completely off-guard, even during autopilot. On certain occasions, the car may demand for you to place your hands on the wheel and if you refuse, well, you will have to drive home on your own because the autopilot will lock you out and won’t let you turn it back on until the drive is over.

This is demonstrated through three strikes. The car lets out three beeping sounds and if the driver still doesn’t obey, the autopilot slows the car down and disables itself for the remainder of the trip.

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5. Increased Productivity

It is estimated that an average person spends about 200 hours commuting to work every year. The amount of time you spend on your commute could easily be used to your advantage, especially if you put a car on autopilot. You can take out your laptop and work on a project or write a letter or an e-mail, and be productive while you commute. You don’t need to keep your attention on the road unless the car requests you to, so you can even make a few quick work calls.

Either way, a lot of time can be saved and used to doing more productive things while you commute, and you could do those things safely and without any worries. Having your commute to work be a breeze would make driving pleasant for even the most technology-resistant people.

Conclusion

With all of this said, it is easy to see why autopilot cars are so attractive to the automotive industry. They would encourage safer roads, increase productivity, save time, and allow for a more relaxed lifestyle, making commuting less of a chore in this modern society.

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Featured photo credit: Wikipedia via upload.wikimedia.org

Reference

More by this author

Nabin Paudyal

Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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