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Big Data Drives The Smart Car

Lane-departure warnings, blind spot detection, auto-braking, and self-parking: These are a few examples of emerging safety features designed to make driving safer. Sorry, humans, but the message here is clear: The best way to make makes roads safer is to supplement, and eventually bypass, the weakest link in every vehicle’s crash-avoidance system — the easily-distracted, irrational, and sometimes dangerous human driver.

Google’s self-driving car project, in which a Toyota Prius is modded with a remote-sensing Lidar (laser radar) system, is probably the best-known example of driverless technology, but automakers are working on their own fully and semi-autonomous rides as well. Nissan Motor, for instance, has announced plans to introduce “multiple, commercially-viable Autonomous Drive vehicles” within six years.

Great. The autonomous vehicle is almost ready. But are drivers eager to accept cars and trucks that take away their control, even if it means a safer journey?

“The difficulty is whether we accept it or not, ” said Grace Wang, associate professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), in a phone interview with InformationWeek.

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