BY KEVIN POTTS, HEAD OF PRODUCTION AT STREETDRONE
When I’m not working at StreetDrone, I spend my time as a stone balancing artist, where I need complete focus, and eliminate distractions from the environment that I am working in. The detailed and precise nature of this art requires the ultimate focus. The ability to focus everything onto just one tiny point of contact is critical. When that focus is lost, things start to go wrong, and can culminate in a collapse of several hours of careful arrangement, and a pile of rocks on my bench.
We don’t think about focus nearly as much as we should. In business we hear a lot about leadership, motivation and stress, but focus does not get enough of our attention. But without focus, you won’t be as effective in your work, as you won’t be concentrating on the things you should be focusing on. There are many distractions in life competing for our attention, and focus, for many, is becoming much more difficult to achieve.
Why is this important?
*94% of all car accidents are due to the human driver and a significant proportion of these are likely to be focus related – whether the driver was distracted by something in their car, or just a wandering thought. Autonomy has huge potential to eliminate this, with level 4 driving placed to remove the need for true human focus. At StreetDrone, we are enabling this technology to be introduced at a much faster rate, and that in itself takes a lot of focus!
Distractions we face as individuals do not apply to self-driving vehicles. You turn it on, it stays on and functioning as you have told or designed it to do. It doesn’t suddenly start thinking about what it is going to have for dinner that day or what’s going on in Facebook. It doesn’t drive too fast, or text whilst driving. It doesn’t drive when drunk or fall asleep and drift into oncoming traffic. It has focus. It will do as it’s told until you tell it to do something else. For me, this is the main reason I believe autonomous vehicles are the only thing that will make our roads a safer place to be.
As Professor Paul Newman, Director of the Oxford Robotics Institute, and Founder of Oxbotica Ltd said:
“The one thing machines won’t do is get distracted and we are not getting better drivers hour by hour as a species, and the driverless car will… Eighty per cent of all accidents are caused by inappropriate driving in the sense that humans get distracted.”
We have the ability to save lives by using technology. And just like in stone balancing, if you don’t have the right link or focus, the piece as a whole won’t work. For autonomous vehicles, StreetDrone’s Xenos provides us and automotive manufacturers with ways to safely connect their vehicles to the autonomous services of the future – creating the perfect balance, bringing all the connections together.
I believe we need to educate people to put their trust in such technology, and this is part of StreetDrone’s mission. It will be great to get more people to understand and appreciate how this technology can not only help save lives by reducing road collisions, but it can also reduce transport costs and our impact on the environment.
*stats according to The National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey (NMVCCS)
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