Can Laser Guided Autonomous Cars Solve Light Pollution
Ford released a video of “Project Nightonomy,” its nighttime autonomous vehicle tests. The green-tinted night vision video shows a prototype Ford Fusion navigating the company’s Arizona test track while only using LIDAR. The Fusion handles the test with ease, navigating the dark desert night as effortlessly as it handles a well-lit road.
“As soon as I look out the window all I saw was blackness,” the safety driver in the front seat states in the video.
It’s a blackness that is becoming more and more rare in the United States. Urban sprawl and street lamps along highways have lit a lot of the shadows that used to cover the country. Light pollution makes stargazing practically impossible, and, as a Florida Atlantic University study notes, not a single species evolved for continuous lighting, and not a single species “truly benefits from it in the long run.” Birds, reptiles, insects, and even humans are negatively affected by the never ending glow of modern life.