La ciudad sin conductores

CAMBRIDGE – La semana pasada, en la Feria de Electrónica de Consumo (CES) de Las Vegas, la rueda de la fortuna de la innovación se detuvo en algo bastante antiguo e inesperado: el automóvil. En las últimas décadas, los automóviles han experimentado una transformación gradual: de los sistemas mecánicos que pudo haber imaginado Henry Ford a computadoras sobre ruedas. Y esa transformación trae consigo una nueva ola de avances digitales: por sobre todo, la conducción autónoma.

Los primeros automóviles autónomos (autoconducidos o sin conductor) fueron creados a fines del siglo XX. Pero las mejoras en su sofisticación y reducciones de costos –reflejadas, por ejemplo en sistemas LIDAR baratos, que pueden «ver» una calle en 3D de manera similar al ojo humano– hacen que los autos sin conductor estén ahora más cerca del mercado.

Como vimos la semana pasada, muchos fabricantes están trabajando para integrar esos sistemas a sus flotas y esperan comenzar a vender ya en 2016 automóviles de alta gama con diversos niveles de autonomía. Según un informe recién publicado por IHS, es posible que «en algún momento después de 2050» casi todos los vehículos sean autónomos.

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