Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Self-driving car kits

Or would they be called KITTs?

I’m not sorry.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about this lately and I’ve realized that there are basically three things needed to turn a regular car into a self-driving one: the computer, sensors, and the human/car interface.  And I wonder if car manufacturers will start designing their new cars for these future self-driving kits.  At first these kits would probably have to be installed at dealerships, but eventually you might just be able to order one online and install it yourself.  Or maybe you’d order one and a drone would fly it and a robotic mechanic to your place.  The mechanic would install it, then fly back with the drone. 

Getting off the idea of drones flying robotic … handybots to your house and back to self-driving car kits, for the computer, we probably already know roughly about how big they’ll be.  So the manufacturers only need to leave a space for it.  If nothing else, they could just stick it in the trunk.  But then there needs to be a way for it to get power and to send and receive signals.  And I wonder if it would be better to already have a cable in the car that you just have to plug everything into rather than having to take all the seats out to run a cable.  Would having these cables pre-installed be seen as a feature worth a little extra over the basic model?

The sensors – cameras, lidar, GPS, etc. – are usually placed at the corners of the car and maybe the roof.  Again, we probably have a rough idea of how big they’ll be, so they just need to leave space for them in the right spots, and a way to power and communicate with them. 

Probably the biggest issue with upgrading a car to self-driving will be the interface.  Like you could put one of those fancy touchscreens in my current car, it would just take ripping the entire dashboard out and putting a new one in.  That kind of defeats the purpose of a simple kit.  I wonder if in the next few years we’ll see cars with touchscreens that just need a software upgrade to go from normal car to self-driving.

So that was just some ideas I had.  I probably would have kept them to myself but then I thought of that joke and had to share it.  I’m still not sorry.

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