Using driverless vehicles for people that cant drive
Going on a budget vacation can be a delicate juggling act between spending on hotels, meals, entertainment, and transportation. In my case, transportation usually is a low priority, and given the choice between a low-end economy rental car and a more expensive one I would usually prefer the cheaper of the two options. On a recent trip, I was just expecting that from my little economy car – budget features, small space, and little driver technology. The surprise though was to find my economy car had “lane assist driving” technology which allowed me to be hands-off on the steering wheel when driving on the highway. Gone are the days of basic “cruise control” on the road, the push of autonomous driving is getting ever close to everyday use and with this comes exciting possibilities for the elderly, special needs, and disabled community. Imagine when a self driving car is dispatched to provide rides for your clients and be available all the time.
With this very near future use of autonomous vehicles for specialized transportation needs, also comes the need for new software tools to be created that complement and enhance autonomous driving. SPEDSTA has looked at the needs of this growing and ever-important new mode of transportation and has built into its scheduling software platform the ability to help transportation organizations take advantage of this trend:
- Modern communication protocols which allow low data bandwidth communications for rural areas where cellular data service coverage is not high.
- Real-time and fast messaging technology between vehicle and SPEDSTA’s ride data. This allows for faster access to GPS locations and other critical ride parameters.
- Robust API (Application Programming Interface) that allows vehicle systems to access ride schedules, profiles, payment systems, and communication channels to passengers, admins, dispatchers, etc. For example, SPEDSTA’s API allows the vehicle to directly access ride schedules to help organize pickup/dropoffs/stops and routes. Also, important profile information such as profile pics and rider identification can be seamlessly accessed through existing member lists. Vehicle entry validation and exit payment systems are also made accessible through the API.
The benefits of autonomous driving and self-driving cars will make an impact on everyday people’s lives but potentially can have the biggest impact on the elderly, special needs, and disabled populations. With SPEDSTA’s existing massive data store of common routes and passenger behavior we are working to do the first experiments to provide a robust, safe, and reliable autonomous driving ride scheduling system.