• Michael Weeding

Who pays the fine when an unmanned car is caught speeding?

Japan is currently funding the development of a seven satellites that will provide a GPS correction signal which will support centimetre accuracy even in urban canyons. Due to begin in 2018 this could have a dramatic impact on personal navigation. So should we be excited?

The $1.2 billion system of satellites and ground stations developed by Mitsubishi would provide the average accuracy of about 1.3 centimetres horizontally and 2.9 cm vertically. A big improvement on the current model which can be up to 10m out.

Through new satellites and ground stations Japan will augment the U.S. operated Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite service and correct GPS signal errors, providing more accurate positioning.

So in delivering such accuracy it could open the door to unmanned vehicles, those that could be used on busy city streets. The only problem will be if the cars go into a tunnel or underground car park, GPS is still no use when you do not a have a clear view of the sky.

Despite this, to think that unmanned cars could become a part of our city streets in the not too distant future is pretty cool. Maybe governments need to start rethinking their approach to road rules and traffic infringements. Considering how slow they work if they start work now they may just have a system in place to fine someone by the time these cars become common place.

The only question then is who gets the fine, the car, the computer or the GPS?

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