By Robert Stitt
In the Hollywood movie “Demolition Man”, Sylvester Stallone’s character is cryogenically frozen in 1996 and brought back to life in 2032. As expected, his character finds that many things are different in the future. On the troubling side, there is no longer any toilet paper; on the exciting side, there are cars that drive themselves.
When the movie was made in 1993, we didn’t even have Pentium processors or a world wide web so the writers were taking a serious look into the crystal ball. Now that the date of 2032 is inching closer, the reality of vehicles that drive themselves is not such a stretch of the imagination and the technology is almost here.
In Mountain View, California, Google has already been testing autonomous vehicles. The company has made a commitment to building one and has put a ton of money and manpower into the project. They want to be the first to develop and patent the technology, but other companies would like that distinction and opportunity as well.
According to USA Today, Uber has been hiring engineers to work on driver-assist technology that could take full control from drivers to increase safety. There is no word on how far along Uber has come on this project.
Most recently, Apple threw its hat into the car ring. Apple code-named its quest for a viable self-driven car “Project Titan”. It is said that a former naval base east of San Francisco has been turned into a secret test site for self-driven vehicles, and Apple has been working on getting its engineers in there. The site, known as GoMentum, is overseen by the Contra Costa County Transportation Authority.
USA Today sought to get a statement from Apple on their quest for an autonomous vehicle and time at GoMentum. Apple had no comment. They were unable to get a comment from the officials at Momentum, either.
Apple is best known for its tablets, computers, and smart phones. Branching into automobiles or automobile control systems would be a huge leap for the company. Even so, USA Today reports that Apple has “been hiring staffers with backgrounds in auto safety and power-train systems, many of them from Elon Musk’s electric car company, Tesla.”
With Apple branching out into the world of self-driven cars, the race is now truly on to see who can complete this amazing task first. If it happens soon, we are one step closer to prophecy.