Driverless Cars Are Coming. Here’s What to Expect

Imagine commuting to work while catching up on your favorite TV show, reading the paper, or checking email. Millions of people do this daily while using public transportation to commute to work.

Now, imagine all the multi-tasking — along with luxuriant coffee drinking — inside the peace and quiet of your own car. You program your destination, your car chooses the least congested route, and you skip the stress ulcers from dealing with traffic.

Driverless cars aren’t science fiction anymore. They’re already on the road. In the U.S., Google has long been developing and testing driverless cars. Apple and Tesla, according to Time Magazine, may develop their own driverless cars, too.

How They Work

A car without a driver needs four components to safely navigate traffic: a GPS system, external sensors and cameras, a central computer, and connected vehicle technology.


Today’s GPS systems, whether they’re part of a car or within our smart devices, enable drivers to input a destination and determine the optimal route. The same technology humans already use creates a plan of action for driverless cars. GPS can also update the planned route in real time based on changing traffic conditions.

External Sensors and Cameras

Driverless cars use video cameras to read road signs, detect stoplights, notice other vehicles, and avoid pedestrians. They also use sensor technology to adjust to dynamic road conditions:

  • Radar sensors. Radar monitors the position of nearby vehicles. If you buy a car today that features adaptive cruise control, it’s using the same radar technology as a driverless vehicle.
  • Lidar sensors. By bouncing pulses of light off the car’s surroundings, lidar sensors detect both lane markings and road edges.
  • Ultrasonic sensors. Ultrasonic sensors come in handy when driverless cars attempt to park. They detect both curbs and other vehicles to avoid parking-related collisions.

Central Computer

The CANbus (controller area network) analyzes all GPS and sensor data. It then interprets data to control steering, braking, and acceleration. Cars have had central computers for decades to analyze vehicle status, so driverless cars simply build on existing computer systems in today’s vehicles.

Connected Vehicle Technology

Car manufacturers are building the framework for connected vehicle technology, which essentially makes cars able to communicate with one another. The U.S. Department of Transportation expects big improvements to safety, emissions controls, and congestion thanks to intelligent tracking systems in cars.

  • Intelligent tracking systems will help both traditional and driverless cars avoid accidents. They’ll warn of merging vehicles, sudden braking, or vehicles hidden in a driver’s blind spot.
  • Eliminating unnecessary stops and starts thanks to communication between cars will improve fuel efficiency.
  • In addition to helping cars find optimal traffic routes, intelligent tracking systems will help drivers identify last-minute ride sharing opportunities and detect open parking spaces. Best of all, transportation officials can use the swarm of data connected vehicles generate to understand traffic patterns, improve roads, and make travel more efficient.


Right now, the biggest obstacle to driverless car adoption is what it’s trying to replace: human drivers. Driverless cars follow the letter of the law. They stop for pedestrians and patiently wait their turn at four-way intersections.

Unfortunately, humans aren’t always the best drivers, and they don’t always follow the rules. When driverless cars stop at crosswalks, they get rear-ended. When no one completely stops at four-way intersections, driverless cars don’t know when to go.

Also, driverless cars swerve to avoid collisions in ways that seem unnatural to human drivers. One Google driverless car, for example, approached a red light and detected an oncoming car traveling over the speed limit. The Google car jerked to the right to prevent a crash, but the oncoming car stopped in plenty of time. These unusual and unnecessary swerves can cause chain reactions because human drivers don’t expect them.

When They’re Coming

Even with these glitches, Google predicts driverless cars will be on the road by 2020. Research from Boston Consulting Group suggests 1 in 5 drivers would pay $4,000 extra for driverless car technology, and 44 percent of U.S. consumers would purchase a driverless car within the next 10 years.

Still, consumers often say they’re enthusiastic about new technology, but old habits die hard. Case in point: electric and hybrid vehicles account for only 0.8 percent of new car registrations.

Cyborg Implants And The Rise Of The Human Cyborgs

In the late 1970’s people watched a science fiction film created by Martin Caidin entitled ‘Cyborg’. It featured how an individual lost an arm and a limb but was immediately replaced with mechanical prosthetics using cyber technology. These bionic replacements were stronger and powerful than the original replaced extremities.

Inspired with this new fictional concept, it was made into a TV series where people got glued to watch ‘The Six Million Dollar Man”. The ‘Bionic Woman’ was a spin-off of the former. Today, nobody would ever think, even in his wildest dreams that cyber fiction on lost organs and limbs can now be a reality, that is, actual restoration through cyborg implants. Sutherland, W. (2009) explained that “the term cyborg was initially coined by NASA scientists Manfred Clynes and Nathan Kline in 1960 when they discussed hypothetical advantages of human-machines in space.

Today, cyborg implants are real. They are part- machine, part- biological organism which can be used for medical and scientific purposes to include military/ law/ intelligence enforcement purposes. When it comes to modern medical technology, there were significant medical breakthroughs intended to improve patient care, deliver longer life expectancy and the right quality of life. The expectations in this field go over and beyond. For example, Divorsky, G. (2012) discusses the recent breakthrough on powering implants in the brain: “MIT engineers have developed a fuel cell that can run on your brain’s own glucose_ a breakthrough that could result in powerful neural prosthetics that could restore and control a number of bodily functions”. According to SCImago Journal and County Rank Journal (2013),

“You can now find cyborg implants being used in each body organ of the human body. Most likely, medical implants must be accompanied with biomechanical features as good as those of tissues arising from within without any adverse effects. Studies of the long-term effects of medical implants in very human anatomical site must be carefully calculated in order to ensure accuracy, safety and effective performance of the implants”. Nowadays, surgery cyborg implants demand an interdisciplinary cooperation of a number of qualified and exceptional consultants. A good example is the successful cochlear implants that required the involvement of audio specialists, medical audio experts, speech and language teachers, and other professions involved with repairing and curing hearing-impaired and deaf individuals”.

Taking up several challenges ahead and in quest for effective and sustainable solutions, cyber research technology is now into laser and advanced implant systems, complemented with thermo-fluid dynamics, mechanics, nanoelectronics, metrology and numeric simulation to bioprocess, biomechanics, other variant bio-systems.

Believe it or not but the following individuals were benefitted from the cyber research technology through cyborg implants. Nelson, B. (2013) presents a few out of the seven recorded actual cyborg patients who benefitted from Cybernetics.
“One is Neil Harbisson was born with extreme color blindness. Equipped with a cyborg eye, he now is adapted to a device implanted in his brain that renders perception of colors as sound on a musical scale. This device allows Harbisson to ‘hear’ a color. Next is Kevin Warwick, a Professor in a University in United Kingdom. Using himself as guinea pig, he experimented by inserting microchips in his arm to perform several functions that allowed him to operate a heater, doors and light.

Nelson, B. (2013) continues by explaining that “Cyber technology is most immediately helpful for amputees like Jesse Sullivan. Sullivan was equipped with new robotic limbs, connected to his nervous systems, capable of functioning like normal limbs. Lastly, Jens Naumann was struck with both blind eyes. He became the first recipient of an artificial vision system which is connected directly to his visual cortex through brain implants”.
All these real-life cyborg individuals volunteered to become cyborg, half-man, half machines. All of them are said to be inspiring harbingers of the future. At least none of them were converted as “Terminators”_ at least not for the time being.

The future is here. Cyborg implants as major component s of Cyborg technology or Cybernetics have already made several steps of advancement to a point where it is now safe to say that bionic humans are no longer stuff of science fiction. All individuals who subject themselves to become recipients of cyborg technology are said to be inspiring harbingers of the future. At least, none of them function as “Terminators” for the time being.
What holds Cyborg technology in the future? Cybernetics will continue to provide more freedom and improve life to quadriplegics, the blind imprisoned in their world of darkness, the deaf and other people who will seamlessly need synthetic replacement parts that will gain widespread acceptance and use. However, there is the trepidation that the cyborg technology will hopefully not be used to control human mind unethically or that will violate human rights.

The Top 10 Emerging Technologies That Will Change the World

Technology is growing at an exponential rate and there are no two ways about it, it is impacting our lives. We have listed 10 emerging technologies that are destined to change the world for good.

Number 10: Screenlesss Displays

businessman with financial symbols coming from hand

Businessman with financial symbols coming from his hand

Screenlesss displays would utilize the transmission of information without the requirement of actually having a physical screen. As you’ve probably seen in The Avengers, this emerging technology has numerous advantages such as presenting 3-D images, far point images, good brightness and contrast levels as well as a large angle of view. These would also be lightweight, provide far better privacy, and will ultimately revolutionize entertainment as a whole.

Number 9: Virtual Reality

VR headset

Picture of a man with a futuristic headset

As Jamiroquai predicted many years ago the future is in fact made of virtual insanity. Three decades after virtual reality goggles and immersive virtual worlds made their debut, this technology is poised to become a technological revolution among consumers. It’s all being spearheaded by Oculus Rift which is a virtual reality headset company that has recently been bought by Facebook for $2 billion. That’s a lot of dollars, but virtual reality has predominantly focused on gaming so far which is a bigger market currently than the movie industry. Users will be immersed to a level where they’ll feel like they’re experiencing the game in real life, something that could surely be replicated for movies no doubt. Ultimately though, you can enter a virtual world in the comfort of your living room. And the things that this can be used for – who knows at this stage?

Number 8: Holographic Television


The next generation of TV won’t just stop at 4K, and after 3D flopped, holographic television will make it so that it’s not just about the screen size and its quality, but rather about the viewing area. MIT researchers have already created a chip, able to render a holographic display at 50 Gigapixels per second. Just like you’ve already seen this technology in action in the fictional film James Cameron’s Avatar. Think about it, eventually you will be able to project holograms from your phone whilst also benefiting other fields like medicine, security, and just general data.

Number 7: Wireless Electricity

Wireless powered home

Wireless powered home

The fact that we can wirelessly charge our gadgets and phones is kind of proof enough that there is a structure we can build upon, in terms of wireless electricity something which I used to talk about as a joke because surely that’s impossible. But no! It’s something that’s happening and should be emerging within the next decade. Several companies are developing electric hubs capable of powering up to an entire house which is made capable by research being carried out by MIT. This concept is based on electromagnetic waves making it simple for the transference of energy while electricity can be transferred between objects that are resonating at the same frequency. Call me old fashioned, but I’m not sure I feel comfortable about the idea of wirelessly powered things all across my house. Even if it’s not touching you, do you want electricity going through you? It sounds weird.

Number 6: Hypersonic Trains

hypersonic train

Very high-speed train going through the
shanghai lujiazui financial center .

Japan, inventor of the world’s first bullet train, is currently working on a floating training powered by magnets which will travel 100 miles per hour faster than current bullet trains which are around 300 mph. The maglev train which stands for magnetic levitation, will run between Tokyo and Osaka and will cost $64 billion which seems like an expensive thing to spend on a train. 64 billion? Are we even sure about this? Anyway it is said to be completed by 2045. But scientists at Southwest Jiaotong University in China have already built a maglev train that could reach 1800 mph. But technology behind it, is that a vacuum is used to minimize the resistance. Now, China already has a functional maglev that goes to 270 mph while Elon Musk, cofounder of Tesla motors, PayPal, and SpaceX revealed the Hyperlink in 2013, a train that would get passengers from San Francisco to LA in only 30 minutes. Musk said it would never crash, will be immune to weather, which is a hell of a thing to say, it would go twice as fast as an airplane, four times as fast as a bullet train, and to top it off, it would run completely on solar power. If we’re not living in the future yet, then we hopefully will be soon.

Number 5: Neurohacking

future brain

Female doctor doing checkup of human brain using futuristic computer technology

Neuroscientists are developing methods to read people’s minds. Sure, like you do, but they’re doing with machines obviously, you know, like in films, this has been in the work for decades but considerable progress is being made by top researchers as technology advances at an alarming rate. By decoding brain waves that translate electrical activity from the brain, it would bring about significant advantages such as the people who suffer from dementia, depression or who have complications with neurotransmitters, relaying thoughts into speech, or holding thoughts long enough to relay them before verbally, that are kind of forgotten by our brains. The disadvantages and kind of a problem with me the most would be the science and machines would have direct access to our thoughts leading to the possibility of ghost hacking, a concept where minds are manipulated and controlled from a remote source. As certainly as it sounds and far-fetched, it’s not beyond the realm of plausibility if you consider the Church-Turing thesis of computational compatibility, it’s is a hell of a mouthful, as well as accounting for cognitive computational-ism, it can be assumed future human minds will be linked to computer systems in some way. Creepy, but maybe useful.

Number 4: Invisibility

invisible man

Invisible man

Ha ha, yes, cloaking engaged. You know, as opposed to the unrealistic concepts of time travel and teleportation, invisibility cloaks do actually already exist. It’s true, they were seen in a James Bond film. Seriously in 2011 researchers developed an invisibility cloak, able to hide tiny objects err, around the size of a red blood cell. Fair enough, that is tiny, isn’t it? The cloak is created via artificial materials called metamaterials which hide the object by altering the light that hits it. See? It actually is a lot like that thing in James Bond. Anyway, scientists are now working on re-creating this cloak for larger objects. Useful. Just imagine, you could use it to avoid dodgy social situations, you know? Maybe you wanna hear what people are really saying about you when you leave the room, because obviously every time you leave the room everybody is talking about you. No, you’re not being paranoid, it’s true. But finally when you’ve got this invisibility cloak, you’ll be able to hear exactly what those gits are saying.

Number 3: Flying Cars

Flying carr

Flying cars are actually not that far away.

With self-driving cars now almost a reality, the concept of flying cars seems somehow more plausible, or at least safer. Of course it’s something that people have been working on for almost half a century. It’s kind of the dream, personal flying cars. Many prototypes in the past have been created but most have proved to be dangerous/deadly with many killing its inventors because funnily enough, unless you’re the person who has invented a flying car, some people don’t want to try it. However some manufacturers have actually started making these cars; of course there’s an untold amount of problems with flying cars including flight paths, regulations, safety, fuel efficiency, landing zones, noise, and obviously training people to do it. Some people struggle to pass normal driving tests. However, according to researchers it’s not out of the question to see it come to fruition by 2025 at the current rate of technological advances.

Number 2: 3D printing

3d printer

3D printing is already taking off in a big way, so much so that people are actually making houses with them. Yes, apparently. That’s insane! A 3D printer prints laser material all on on top of the previous to produce a real physical model allowing it to create nearly any shape, even those that can’t be made by traditional manufacturing methods. Well, the technology is currently very costly and slow, it will eventually be able to produce more robust parts quickly and cheaply as technology advances. One day, you’ll hopefully be able to print your own phone, your own home, your own car, and who knows what else. In the medical world they’ve even managed to do 3D printing of flesh. So, yeah, may be print yourself another liver. Go nuts!

Number 1: Autonomous Robots

ex machina

Futurists believe that as soon as 2030 a technological singularity will emerge with the leading theory being that artificial intelligence in the form of autonomous robots might rival humans in independent thinking and creativity. In Layman’s terms, machines will surpass humans in intelligence. Although, we’re probably not approaching a Skynet style scenario, scientists are worried about whether adequate measures are being taken to safeguard humans from our robotic and digital creations. Fully realize robotic machines have become widespread in medical technology and scientific development, for example, you know, enabling those with paralysis to move their limbs. Unlike today’s robots which generally work in the confined environment, the next generation will have much more autonomy and freedom to move on their own. We already see this with driverless cars and delivery drones.

Google, the company spearheading the self-driving car industry and super intelligent AI research, has already purchased a robot making company. Boston Dynamics affirmed that they have AI machines that can run up to 29 mph and traverse rocky terrain that was bought by Google for $3 billion in its latest purchase. In any case it’s ultimately exciting to envision a world full of robots even if obviously it does leave me worried that they will eventually destroy us all similar to the beautiful and cunningly intelligent AI human-like robots envisioned in Ex Machina (2015) by Alex Garland.


The Replacement Species

In The Future We May All Be Replaced by Engineered Humans

In recent years, there have been calls for an interdisciplinary approach to the understanding and evaluation of opportunities for enhancing humans. Technological advancements are being used to make the enhancement of the human species possible. They include present technologies such as information technology, biotechnology, artificial intelligence and nanotechnology and genetic engineering which includes genomics and genetic coding.

Enhancement options that are being discussed include extension of the human life-span, eliminating unnecessary suffering, disease eradication as well as enhancement of the physical, emotional, and intellectual capabilities of humans. Other possible themes include space colonization and creation of super-intelligent machines. The scope is not just limited to medicine and gadgets. It also encompasses social, economic and institutional designs as well as psychological skills and techniques and cultural development.

The Replacement Species Theory

Under this theory, human nature is perceived as a work in progress. Through responsible use of science and technology, it will be possible to achieve the post-human evolutionary state. Such beings will have greater capabilities. In contrast to most ethical outlooks which have a reactionary attitude towards new technologies, champions of this theory are guided by the vision to take an active approach to the technology policies. They want humans to be granted an opportunity to live healthier and longer lives. It will enable them to refine their emotional experiences and increase their subjective sense of well-being. This will enable them to achieve greater control over their lives.

Exploring the Post-human Era

As for now, it might be hard get an intuitive understanding of what it will be like to be in the post-human era. This is because our experiences, activities, feelings and thoughts only constitute a tiny percentage of what is possible. We can only imagine of beings that have reached a greater level of maturity and personal development with full psychic and bodily vigor. However with such advancements, it will be possible to create smarter beings with extraordinary powers of imagination.

Concerning values, it is important to note that our values are mainly defined by our current dispositions. According to the dispositional theory of values described by David Lewis, something is of value to you only if you want it and are well acquainted with it. This happens when you are thinking about and deliberating on it. Basing on this theory, it is possible that there are values which we may not appreciate now as we do not have the right faculties to comprehend them. However, once we achieve the post-human state, we will be acquainted and appreciate them fully.

The Downside to the Theory

The replacement species theory does not necessarily entail technological optimism. Although future technological capabilities have great potential for beneficial deployment, they could be misused to cause much harm. For instance, it might lead to the erosion of unquantifiable assets such as ecological diversity and meaningful human relationships.

The Question of Morality in the Human Germ-Line Genetic Engineering

Genetic engineering involves editing the DNA structure of an organism to achieve the desired results. It can be used to correct the genes that cause genetic diseases and pass the genetic fixes to the future generations. It also involves installing genes that offer better development, lifelong protection against infections as well as those that reduce the effects of aging. If used in humans, this will result in the development of superior beings.

The morality of genetic engineering has been debated extensively. Most of those who are opposed to genetic enhancement believe that it is morally wrong to use science to manipulate the human nature. Most are concerned about the psychological effects of germ-line engineering. Selecting genes to create the so-called designer babies will corrupt the parents, who will view their own children as mere products. It is believed that people will begin to evaluate their offspring according to quality control standards. This will undermine the ethical ideals of accepting children regardless of their traits and abilities, all in quest for perfection. In fact this can only worsen social prejudice against the disabled.

The Aspect of Equality

The issue of social equality has been a point of focus for most opponents of genetic coding to produce powerful humans. It is feared that the development might widen the gap between the haves and have-nots. In today’s society, children from wealthier backgrounds enjoy many privileges such as access to better social amenities. The inequality might worsen due to genetic intervention as such technologies can only be afforded by individuals from rich backgrounds. The genetically privileged individuals might become healthier, ageless, super-geniuses with flawless beauty. The non-privileged on the other hand might remain as ordinary people that are deprived and unable to compete with genetically enhanced individuals. The process of might also include some irreversible changes which if negative might spell disaster to the human race.

All in all, it is hard to deny that genetic engineering can help to eliminate unnecessary human suffering. Benefits include eliminating genetic diseases and enhancing the immune system leading to longer, healthier and happier lives. The developments should be regulated to adopt positive modifications and avoid those that might be harmful.

Surgery in The Future

[intro]All these changes can be attributed to the technical advancements which help surgeons to accomplish complex operations safely using fewer incisions. The advancements being experienced in the industry are great news, particularly to those patients facing surgery. This is because the operations are bound to become less invasive, less painful, safer and less expensive. Moreover, patients will experience fewer post-operation complications.[/intro]

The future of surgery will entail:

Minimally Invasive Surgery

Surgical techniques are evolving rapidly. Due to this, futuristic surgery will involve minimal invasive procedures resulting in faster recovery with minimal post-operative pain and reduced scarring. This will revolutionize surgical care and treatment. It is bound to reduce the need for pain medication, shorten hospital stays, improve cosmetic results and reduce trauma to patients.

Single-incision Laparoscopic Surgery

Laparoscopy surgery is a medical procedure that requires a surgeon to access the patient’s abdominal cavity. To visualize the cavity, the surgeon can use a laparoscope. He/she can perform diagnostic and therapeutic procedures thereafter. Single-incision laparoscopy surgery is the next phase in minimally invasive surgery. The traditional laparoscopy is characterized by multiple entry-points, where 4-5 half-inch to one-inch incisions are made around the surgical area. However, the single-incision laparoscopy surgery procedure requires a single 1.5-2.5 inch incision in the patient’s belly bottom. Miniature surgical tools with a small camera are inserted through the incision during the operation.

Currently the procedure is mainly used for gynecological and gallbladder removal. It is the final frontier in laparoscopic surgery, after which we will expect a natural orifice surgery which will not involve any external incision. Single-incision Laparoscopic Surgery is currently available in more advanced community hospitals. It is however a specialty procedure which requires advanced training.

Robotic Surgery

To perform a successful surgical operation using fewer and smaller incisions, the surgical tools used must be tiny and more advanced. That is where robotic surgery comes in. It is a computer-assisted surgical procedure which enables the surgeon to carry out a surgical operation using robotic instruments. The equipment uses a surgical robotic arm which can go beyond the limits of a human hand. It is also possible to amplify video images in the 3D format and perform more precise movements.

Robotics will be very instrumental in helping surgeons to perform intricate and more complex surgeries within a short time. It will also be less painful with minimal scarring. Currently, robotic surgery is mainly performed by cardiothoracic surgeons, urologists and gynecological surgeons. Once it is fully adopted as a surgical procedure, it will encompass other aspects such as:

  1. Telesurgery and telementoring: This will facilitate surgical performance and assistance from remote locations.
  2. Telepresence: This will enable clinicians and surgeons to interact with their patients from remote locations. While having the patients’ record library, they will be able to make informed decisions just as if they were in the patient’s room.
  3. Remote ICU Monitoring: This will enable the clinician to monitor the patient’s waveforms and records using a wireless device such as a handheld PDA.
  4. Haptic Feedback: The development will help to restore some sense of touch to a surgeon which is either lacking or diminished in the Minimally Invasive Surgery.

Accurate Use of Technology in Diagnosing Diseased Tissues

Historically, surgeons exclusively relied on their surgical expertise and eyes to identify diseased tissues that may need to be removed. However, with the new fluorescent imaging technology, diagnosing a diseased tissue is going to be much easier. For instance, it can show the surgeon how much of a patient’s kidney is cancerous enabling him/her to remove that part of the organ or tissue that is infected.

During the procedure, a special dye is injected into the patient’s bloodstream. The dye is able to highlight the cancerous sections of a tissue. The surgeon then uses a special type of night-vision googles to locate highlighted tumors. He or she can easily remove them and preserve those parts of the tissue that are still healthy. Currently fluorescent imaging is mainly used by radiologists in identifying intestinal bleeding points and lymph nodes in cases of breast cancer.

The future of surgery is quite bright. Precisely,  by the year 2035 we should expect virtual or remote surgeons who use high tech equipment to perform more advanced and efficient surgical operations.