Self-Driving Cars Have Arrived

The self-driving car is a technology of degrees. Adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping features will be released first. But when will you be able to sit back and relax?

What's the Latest Development?


Self-driving cars are already here, though they are a technology of degrees. Features like adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping technology will be released first. Adaptive cruise control, which automatically adjusts your speed to the car in front of you, is already well-tested. Unlike the past, complex software is enabling more vehicle innovation than the invention of new hardware. It is thanks to software that Google's self-driving hybrids have logged more than 140,000 miles on public roads.

What's the Big Idea?

Despite the rapid advance of automated driving software, it may be a long time before you can enjoy a brandy in the back seat while your car whisks you away from the office. The more automated cars are, the more complex they become, requiring (trained) humans to oversee their operations. Future drivers will be like airplane pilots who, making use of autopilot, must still ensure that everything is working correctly. Market acceptance is another concern. Are we, as individuals, comfortable handing our safety over to a machine?

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?

Videos
  • Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
  • Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.

This is the best (and simplest) world map of religions

Both panoramic and detailed, this infographic manages to show both the size and distribution of world religions.

(c) CLO / Carrie Osgood
Strange Maps
  • At a glance, this map shows both the size and distribution of world religions.
  • See how religions mix at both national and regional level.
  • There's one country in the Americas without a Christian majority – which?
Keep reading Show less
Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Do human beings have a magnetic sense? Biologists know other animals do. They think it helps creatures including bees, turtles and birds navigate through the world.

Keep reading Show less