How does mathematics apply to driverless cars?

Driverless cars rely on a full range of mathematical concepts.

Core Mathematics: In order to drive in the most efficient manner, driverless cars can exploit software based on the methods of Calculus to determine the most appropriate speeds to drive, to minimise energy consumption. By enabling driverless cars to connect with traffic signal controllers, Calculus mathematics can also be used to optimise traffic flows.

Mechanics: The definition of a driverless car (compared to cars with driver assist modes) is one that can perform the task of controlling both the speed and direction of the vehicle without the need for a driver (or tele-operative) to be involved. This requires the car, through computer programming, to have a very good understanding of not only the dynamics of the vehicle, but the dynamics of all other objects that might cause an obstruction or accident. The human brain, over time, has been hard-wired to understand the laws of mechanics, and to make complex calculations that predict where multiple moving objects will be in a few seconds time. This is how driver’s are able to avoid accidents. Without the benefit of a human-brain, driverless cars need to be hard-wired to understand these things, through computer programming, based on mechanical mathematics.

Statistics: How will driverless cars be insured in the future. This is a big question, taxing the car insurance industry today. All insurance products are based upon statistical models, that assess the probabilities of accidents occurring, and identifying appropriate prices to apply to insurance products. The statistical work for Car insurance products has evolved over many years of car insurance companies gathering data about how human driver behaviour impacts the likelihood of having an accident. With driverless cars, and the added complexities of driverless cars interacting with driven cars, all historic assumptions are ‘out of the window’. Furthermore, with the use of telematics devices and improved sensors, there is so much more data available nowadays, than what existed even 10 years ago. Imagine how much more data will be available in another 10 years time. All this ‘big’ data requires analysis, using statistical techniques, to build new statistical models both  the insurance industry AND the driverless cars themselves – where there is the potential for driverless cars to learn from this data, to improve their abilities to drive safely – all requiring statistical techniques that underpin an area known as ‘Artificial Intelligence’.

Decision Mathematics: Inside the ‘brain’ of a driverless car, we will need to be able to replicate (and improve upon!) all of the decision making that drivers undertake. Some of these tasks have already been automated with Decision Mathematics, through the identification of the best route to take, using SatNavs, GoogleDirections and apps like Waze. The most crucial decisions, that the driverless cars will need lightning responses to, will be in the event of potential hazards and accidents with other vehicles…such as an event where a pedestrian walks out in front of the car, at the same time the driverless car being aware that the driven car behind is driving too fast to avoid crashing into the driverless car, if it applies its brakes to avoid the pedestrian…

Pure Maths: Not only does Pure Maths help scientists create complex, and increasingly accurate, models of how the Universe works, including the mysteries of ‘dark matter’, the practice of ‘abstract thinking’ is highly applicable to the most sophisticated software languages, which are used to programme driverless cars.


The Evolution of the Helmet Lock

Our journey begins in 2010 with the US invention of the ‘Helmet Lock‘…a simple solution to adding your helmet to your existing secure bikelock…although 2 years later I am sad to say despite making many hundreds, even possibly thousands, happy customers, they had to close down due to the business not turning over enough and not having the right connections to develop this into a stronger retail proposition. So a customer success, but alas not a retail success…

Then in 2011 we saw the amazing ‘Head Lock‘…which brought in the concept of an ingenious double-purpose device. Lock your helmet, lock your bike. Not sure what happened to this one, but suspect it never got past the drawing board…due to the helmet being an unlikely replacement for a secure bike lock…

…so forward to 2013…soon after the demise of ‘Helmet Lock’ and we get great innovation from the intelligent population of Denmark – the (drum roll) – ‘HelmMate‘. This locks your helmet in a waterproof bag on top of your seat – which also protects it from the rain. Cute. This has been an evident success, supported by its local cycling market, with it available at all good Danish retail outlets, and available online too at  …and available through amazon by the latter.

So, things are beginning to look up for this growing need for helmet-based innovation…with the Danes taking the lead…so what happened next?…we see the first helmet product ‘tie-in’ thing…the Cappuccino Lock …that online uk retailer, Maddison, has taken a liking to. Nothing like playing on brand to get us UK folk interested…

So…the idea of double-purpose sounds like a good way to go, but going into somewhere with a strong level of cycle ownership and helmet culture is probably also key…

So what has 2015 brought us….hey!…it’s ‘Locksit‘ – the ingenious doubling up of bike light and helmet lock. This is surely a winner – everyone needs a nice new bike light for Christmas, right? Early days – but maybe there are opportunities for Locksit to learn from the recent past…maybe by focusing on Scandinavia/Germany and Japan could be a good way to go?

Alcatel 20.12 – it just gets better

oooh – chocolate covered Alcatel Onetouch!

My 20.10 Alcatel bit the dust all of a sudden, after 18 months of service – but loving the replacement – again just £40 from Argos

Re-equipped the phone with ringtones (place into a folder when in mass usb mode and you can pick it up from profiles)

…although you might like the following simplest mobile phone in the world  for:

…and also how this one I’ve just bought, the size/shape of a key fob (BMW X6 Mini Phone)!!

>>> and finally, the future for sustainable mobile phone technology