An Autonomous Minivan For Busy Parents

Although minivans are a staple of moms and dads that drive their kids to school, soccer practice, and the like, this vehicle imagines a time when maybe they won’t even have to. Autonomous cars have been in development for some time, but the video after the break gives a nice close-up view of how this particular vehicle was built and some of the testing that went into it.

Of particular interest was the external luggage pod modified to hold vehicle electronics. Everything is nicely laid out with wire duct to keep it neat. Those in the manufacturing industry might notice several other off-the-shelf components including an area scanner at 0:24 and extruded aluminum framing at 0:45. The apparent “E-stop” button on the passenger side comes from industry as well and may make the rider feel a bit more safe!

If this wasn’t interesting enough, check out this autonomous car by Google that has already driven from San Francisco to Los Angeles!

22 thoughts on “An Autonomous Minivan For Busy Parents

  1. I like the idea of autonomous vehicles and automated highways but the burning question remains …. in the event of an accident who will be blamed? I do not think manufactures want to spend countless days in court battling other people who cut one of these off or side swipe them and claim it was the autonomous cars fault.

    With the automated highways I doubt that the state would put themselves up to be sued either.

    The only way I see this ever working in a real environment would either A) separation of people driving vs autonomous vehicles. or B) it being a requirement that all vehicles on the highway use the system.

    Once again, great idea, horrible problems to deal with.

    1. OK we have this thing in NZ called ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) that prevents aggressive, pointless or downright mean lawsuits. Everyone pays a little bit into ACC, and if you are injured, the state covers your rehab costs, medical care and loss of earnings. Kinda like insurance. What you pay is kinda risk based, motorcyclists pay more than car drivers on their vehicle license, industrial abseilers pay (way) more than …. librarians on their earnings….It works….

  2. Who will be blamed? whoever has the least money of course.

    If the owner of the vehicle has more money than the maker, the maker get’s the blame. and Vices Versa if the owner has less money than the maker..

    This is the american way… Justice goes to he who is the richest.

  3. Although it’s not exactly modular, it seems like the “driver” should be rigidly attached to the car as opposed to just resting on the plush leather seat. In the current configuration, what the computer driver expects to be 5 inches of brake travel may actually end up as 4.

    1. Brake lights are working, you can see at 2:40.

      Anyway, the car is a Renault, and car from this manufacturer are known to have a lot of electrical problems. So, it can be “normal” to have weird lights effects on this cars :-/

      PS : @Hackaday : sorry, I clicked again on “Report comment” by mistake… when will you add a confirm box? It’s just two lines of code…

  4. Obviously, in the case of accidents there will be a blanket amnesty. People need to be able to drive to work, so people need to accept some danger so we can cram two or three times as many people through our aging highways. There will be hiccoughs, of course, but sacrifices must be made in the name of profit!

  5. New Zealand’s accident compensation sounds very unjust. What about the guy who makes $25 million a year who is rendered semi-vegetative by a car-blender gone wild? What about his starving wife and children? Obviously his life is worth orders of magnitude more than the lowlifes he injured. Why, after the accident, none of them even had jobs.

  6. With today’s cheap and ubiquitous microprocessors, it’s likely that any autonomous auto is likely to have more processing power (a.k.a. IQ) than a similarly equipped standard compact driven by a teenage girl who’s texting on her Iphone while driving.

  7. While I like the concept, this is the last reason I’d like to see people use to get one. Based on my own observations, the parents who actually drive their kids to school in minivans use the tv to raise their kid. The drive to school is sadly the only time they actually spend time together.

  8. Gobbledigoogle, Fakebook and a virtual tsunami of twittering rubbish are but some of Big Brother’s tentacles turning each and every one of us into gormless consumers! Sleep tight, American Dreamers!

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