BY ALI NAQVI –
For a Federal Minister of Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry, who thought SUPARCO sent Hubble Telescope in to space, it is much easier to say that in just a few years driverless cars would be running on the roads of Pakistan. He actually said that while talking to a private news channel.
In a country where teenagers drive motorcycle rickshaws loaded with almost a dozen passengers, flirting with death and danger, talking about driverless cars is mind boggling to say the least.
Tech giants has been working to develop driver less cars for many decades. It would be a dream come true to see self-driven cars on the roads. Though it is now virtually possible yet the privilege is not granted to the public.
The vehicle that comes close to being called a driverless car and is available in the market is developed by Tesla Motors. In 2015 Tesla updated its software to version 7 in the US to introduce Auto Pilot feature. Since then the company is constantly developing and updating the system. Tesla was involved in a major crash in China in 2016 resulting in a death. That incident brought things back to the square one.
Google is also vigilantly working to develop driverless cars which practically have come into being, but Google has not rolled them out in the market. Not to mention the social, legal and ethical implications the issue with driver less cars is a lot to do with the safety of passengers and the pedestrians.
Google’s driverless car is called Waymo. The car was tested with 500,000 KM of road running in 2012 without an accident. Google kept testing Waymo with more miles on the road and the vehicle is not yet deemed perfect for commercial and public use.
Big brands in the auto industry are working on future cars that would be driver less and electric at the same time. Mercedes, BMW, Toyota, Honda, Ford and many other automobile manufacturers are investing on R&D to come up with vehicles to meet the challenges of the future.
It is too early to say that a driverless car could come to Pakistan within a few years. Fawad Chaudhry has a knack of saying things just to get the media attention and show that the government is doing something which is actually of no consequence.
Driverless cars involve the integration of technologies. The car has to be ‘always’ connected to the server. GPS and high speed internet connectivity are some of the basic ingredients to keep in mind. Pakistan has major internet connectivity issues. Our 3G and 4G networks are not as reliable and efficient as they should be. In such a scenario talking about future technologies that are still in their development phase is no less than fooling around with the people.