Autonomous Driving

General Information

Self driving vehicles are essentially vehicles that require minimal to almost no human control[1]. The way self driving cars work is through different technological systems placed throughout the car which detects their surroundings and base judgements through the information they received from the systems. There are various types of autonomous vehicles from cars to trucks. Self driving cars are a disruptive technology due to the massive impact they have had on consumers and industries as they’re becoming increasingly popular than regular driving cars[2]. As of now there isn’t a fully automated car on the market[3], however there are cars that are almost fully automated, for example one of the biggest, most popular range of self-driving cars is the Tesla range. Tesla has produced different range of models which allow the car to drive on its own, to an extent of course. There still needs to be a human behind the wheel operating the car just to ensure safety of themselves and others on the road.

Inside The Tesla

Autonomous driving has gained significant popularity over the past few years, especially from Tesla. The reason for this sudden popularity for self driving cars is the safety, functionality and demand[4]. Safety is one of the key reasons why autonomous cars are popular. Consumers purchase a car which ensures maximum safety of everyone on the road and self driving cars have these features.

Technical Information

First of all, there are 5 different levels of autonomy related to self driving cars[5]:

  • Level 0: Car is fully control by a human
  • Level 1: Some technology is controlled by the car i.e. cruise control
  • Level 2: Car can perform steering and acceleration on its own but still needs needs assist of a human driver
  • Level 3: Conditional automation, able to perform some conditions which will result in fully automated driving but still need human assists.
  • Level 4: Able to fully automate on it’s own and require human interaction only when deemed necessary
  • Level 5: Fully automated, no human interaction needed.

So far we have achieved up to level 4, however we are getting closer and closer to achieving level 5. In order to create a fully automated vehicle, there needs to be technological systems fitted within the car. Systems like radar, LiDAR, camera computer vision systems, complementary sensors and connectivity[6]. These systems have already been in place in existing semi-automated cars. Although fully automated cars use these same systems as well, more complex components are needed too like neural network algorithm and data[7]. These components are essential for level 5 automation.

Neural Networking Algorithm

There are different algorithms within the neural networking algorithm. Regression algorithm detects the distance between two vehicles. Decision-making algorithm allows the vehicles to make quick thinking decisions under different circumstances. Pattern Recognition algorithm is similar to regression algorithm however it essentially uses detects the object first. Lastly, Clustering algorithm organises data into different groups[8].


Features like radar and LiDAR are already uses in level 3 and 4 automations. LiDAR, light detection and ranging, is a sensor which uses light to map out the height and distance of an object. It uses multiple pulses of light to detect the measurements. LiDAR is widely used through different fields like marine and aircraft[9]. There are two types of LiDAR, topographic and bathymetric. Autonomous cars usually use topographic LiDAR. Topographic LiDAR uses light pulses to map out different surface environments, whereas bathymetric LiDAR is used more to map out bodies of water[10].


Historical Information

The first thought or concept of autonomous driving occurred over 90 years ago. Although in 1930 there wasn’t any type of sensing technology like LiDAR, they had the idea of creating autonomous cars in the future[11]. In 1958, General Motors had an idea to add magnetic spikes on road which can then control the car[12]. General motors then applied this idea into reality. 20 years later, Japanese engineers, Tsukuba Mechanical Engineering Lab built upon General Motor’s magnetic spike cars[13]. They improved the vehicle by adding cameras on top of the car. This was the beginning of the autonomous cars we see today. Around the 1980’s, German companies Mercedes Benz and Daimler further improved the Japanese’s “self-driving car” by adding even more cameras and sensors[14]. This improvement resulted in an increase of acceleration of the vehicle from 32 kmph to approximately 90 kmph, which is a significant improvement.

Historical Car 1

The 21st century is when autonomous driving was really looked upon. Technology was becoming more adaptive and advancing. One of the most popular companies behind creating autonomous driving is Tesla Motors. Tesla Motors was founded in 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning[15]. A year later Elon Musk (the current CEO of Tesla Motors) joined. Musk had a vision to create fully automated vehicles which are also energy efficient and clean. It wasn’t until 2014 when Tesla first introduced self driving cars to their range. By 2017, Tesla present level 3 automation by adding cruise control, lane assist, Autosteer and Autopark. Only recently did Tesla instigate a new feature which is at level 4 automation, Autopilot. In April 2020 Tesla announced that they are in the midst of creating a software that will allow the car to fully operate on its own.

Tesla Model X

Apart from Tesla, there are other companies which have also created “self driving cars” like Google, Volvo and Ford. However they’re aren’t as popular as Tesla. As of now there isn’t any fully automated cars but we are approaching that goal very quickly.

Google Car

Impact Of Technology

There are positive and negative impacts of autonomous driving within societies, economies and also socially.

  • Autonomous driving can reduce accidents[16]:

Through the advancement of technology within cars different technological systems such as LiDAR, radar and Neural Networking algorithms, accidents can be prevented. This will ensure maximum safety over the driver and their passengers and also others on the road.

  • Reduced Carbon Emissions[17]:

Almost all autonomous vehicles run on electric power. This leads to a reduction in CO2 emissions and hence further improve the environment.

However with these benefits comes some consequences.

  • Hacking of systems[18]:

Autonomous cars will use various different technologies which can be prone to hacking. This is one of the main issues when it comes to fully automated car. A more sophisticated and safe system would need to be created to prevent hacking.

One of the more reasons why autonomous cars are disruptive is that it will soon overtake regular cars in the future. Ultimately, autonomous driving will have a huge impact on both society and the economy. It creates great benefits for the environment as it is fully electric and also benefits communities in that the car guarantees safety. Ultimately, autonomous driving will have a huge impact on both society and the economy. It creates great benefits for the environment as it is fully electric and also benefits communities in that the car guarantees safety.


[1],[3] Author: Unknown, Date: published – 26/01/2017, updated – 21/02/2018, Title: Self-Driving Cars Explained, URL:

[2] Laura Cox, Date: 09/02/2017, Title: Autonomous Vehicles – The most disruptive innovation of a generation, URL:

[3],[6],[7],[8] Drew Page, Date: 11/03/2020, Title: How Do Self-Driving Cars Work and What Problems Remain?, URL:

[4] Eric Adams, Date: 25/04/2018, Title: Wait, Who Even Asked for Self-Driving Cars in the First Place?, URL:

[5] John Rosevear, Date: 11/04/2017, Title: The “Levels” of Self-Driving Explained, URL:

[9],[10] Professor Topo, Date: 03/04/2020, Title: What is LiDAR? Important Things You Should Know About It, URL:

[11],[12],[13],[14] Author: Unknown, Date: 23/06/2019, Title: The History and Evolution of Self-Driving Cars, URL:

[15] Eric Reed, Date: 04/02/2020, Title: History of Tesla: Timeline and Facts, URL:

[16],[17] Pete Goldin, Date: 20/02/2018, Title: 10 Advantages of Autonomous Vehicles, URL:

[18] Adam Hayes, Date: 31/10/2019, Title: The Unintended Consequences of Self-Driving Cars, URL:

Virtual Reality


SIT124-QUANG Nguyen

Virtual Reality (VR) is an artificial environment which is created by the new computer technology. ‘Virtual’ means nearly real and ‘reality’ is what humans can experience in our daily life (Virtual Reality Society, 2020). VR world can be nearly like or entirely different from the real world and it can make you believe that you are somewhere else.

The most common way to dive into a VR world is by using Virtual Reality Headset. VR Headsets give users a new experience by immersing themselves in a virtual environment through a first-person perspective (Bhanji, 2018). It also uses Head Tracking and Motion Tracking to let users interact with the VR world. Users can actually throw and pick up items like in real life when using the VR system.

VR uses widely. VR is applied in many different fields such as entertainment, medical, sport, art. According to Hill (2016, p.3), VR can help medical trainees to enhance surgical skills and give them other benefits like time, money, and the safety of patients. It allows us to make mistakes in the virtual world and we can gain more experience from those mistakes. This technology is getting cheaper and more popular day by day.


VR uses immersive technology. Immersive technology is a technology that uses 360 space to expand reality or set up for a new reality (Covarrubias, 2020). When experience VR, users have a feeling like they are blocked out from the outside world and dive into the content of the VR world.

There are four major parts of a VR system:

  • A stereoscopic display is a display that gives you a depth perception of the VR world. The device such as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headset that gives you the display to send the images to your retina.    
  • Motion tracking is sophisticated hardware in your headset that can track the movement of your head and body. There are two kinds of position tracking in VR headsets and input devices: 3 degrees-of-freedom and 6 degrees-of-freedom ( Google VR, 2020). Degrees of freedom are the number of fundamental ways of an object that can move in 3D space.
  • Input devices can give us interaction with the VR world. There are some devices like game controllers, hand-tracking motion sensors, and body tracking sensors that can give you the interaction that you want in the VR environment.
  • 3D VR Software is the software that needed to install to process data into the VR headset.


There are a lot of debates about the origins of the VR concept. If we go back to 1957, there was actually a functional VR machine and it was called Sensorama. Sensorama was developed by Morton Heilig who was a cinematographer and a filmmaker. Sensorama was like an arcade theatre machine that would give users an experience of a simulated street when sitting in an imaginary motorcycle. It gave users a feeling like when they were in a real street by having winds that are generated by fans, simulated noises, and the smell of the city.

However, the word “virtual reality” was only popular by the 1980s thanks to Jaron Lanier-the pioneer of this field (Chan, 2018, p.30). Jaron Lanier was the founder of VPL Research which is one of the first companies that produce VR products. Although the company went bankrupt in 1999 it was still one of the major milestones in the VR field.

In 1991, Sega is one of the first companies that announced the VR headset for arcade games and their video game consoles. However, it was never released because of its safety.

Almost 20 years later, in 2010, the first prototype of the Oculus Rift was created. Oculus Rift is one of the most famous VR headsets right now. In 2014, Facebook bought this company with 2 billion dollars.


Since the first prototype of the Oculus Rift was made in 2010, VR becomes more and more widely used and affordable. Currently, this technology is used in a lot of different areas like military, education, health, video gaming, etc. In the military field, VR can increase soldiers’ safety when they are in training. In addition, medical trainees can improve their skills through a simulated surgery and they can learn from their mistakes in the simulated surgery to make a real surgery less dangerous. VR can also be used in business. Staff training in different fields like real estate, construction, and architecture can apply VR to improve their work.

In my opinion, VR can have an impact on the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the lockdown, a lot of people cannot hang out with their friends and families. They can only talk with each other through a phone or a video call. With the help of VR, people can play with their friends and families through a simulated world. They can actually talk and interact with each other during this COVID-19 pandemic. It can help people to feel less depressed during these hard times.


Bhanji, Z 2018, ‘ A New Reality: How VR Actually Works’, Predict, 2 October, retrieved 9 May 2020, <>.

Chan, M 2018, Virtual reality: representations in contemporary media, Bloomsbury Publishing, retrieved 9 May 2020, <>.

Covarrubias, C 2020, ‘ What is Immersive Technology?’, Advrtas, retrieved 9 May 2020,<>

Google VR, 2020, ‘Degrees of freedom’, , retrieved 9 May 2020, <>.

Hill, ZB 2016, Virtual reality: advances in research and applications, Computer science, Technology and applications, Nova Science Publisher’s, Inc., retrieved 9 May 2020, <>.

Virtual Reality Society, 2020, ‘ What is Virtual Reality?’, retrieved 9 May 2020, <>.


General Information

Nanotechnology refers to the utilisation and study of atoms and molecules in order to design products, components and systems of nano metre size (millionths of a millimetre).

(Atoms: the smallest possible amount of a chemical element | Molecules: when two or more atoms form chemical bonds with each other.)

As such, nanotechnology is prominent in society as it can be implemented to address numerous problems that are currently floating around.

For instance, the use of nanotechnology has led to the growth/improvement of the following points:

  • Communications & Information Sector (Electronics)
  • Medical Sector (Medicine & Treating diseases)
  • Food Science/Technology
  • Fuel Cells
  • Automobiles
  • Improvement in products such as sunscreen & plastic bottles
  • Energy

Issues such as treating diseases and health problems in under-developed countries, major health issues, environmental issues, improving food supply and water consumption can be addressed through the advances and study of nanotechnology.

For more information regarding nanotechnology, feel free to watch the video above.

Nanotechnology – The 3 Ns’

[Nanomaterials | Nanophotonics | Nanoelectronics]

Nanotechnology can be subdivided into three main areas:

  • Nanomaterials
  • Nanophotonics
  • Nanoelectronics

Nanomaterials are materials that are produced and utilised at a very small scale. For instance, silicone and titanium oxide used in sunscreen would be classified as a nanomaterial. Being able to generate materials in a specific way to play a particular role as well as using unique properties that can only be discovered at nanolevel has impacted the utilisation of nanomaterials to spread across multiple industries. These industries range from the cosmetics field and healthcare field to the environmental field.

Advantages of Nanomaterials can include:

  • In the energy sector, the current method of generating energy (solar panels) can be further enhanced using nanotechnology in order to open up new ways to store and harness energy. This can also lead to the process becoming more cost-effective and efficient.
  • In the technology sector, nanomaterials can impact the development of new electronic products.
  • Nanomaterials is exceptionally useful in the medical field, as it permits the bonding of cells and active ingredients. This will result in an increase in the likelihood of successfully combating various diseases.

Disadvantages of Nanomaterials can include:

  • As nanotechnology is still new, there is not a large amount of information on the health and safety aspects of exposure to the materials.
  • Manufacturing process can be complex and difficult

Nanophotonics takes an in depth look at light and its behaviour on a nanometre scale. Components of nanophotonics include lasers, optical circulators, amplifiers and much more.

Advantages of Nanophotonics can include:

  • Extremely powerful interactive ability with almost every particle that deals with optics.
  • Uses light at its best for treating optics.

Disadvantages of Nanophotonics can include:

  • Not cost-effective
  • Huge laser consumption may encourage skin diseases.

Nanoelectronics is the use of nanotechnology in electronic items. Current trends in nanoelectronics are the developments of new applications and the miniaturisation of existing ones. Nanoelectronics can be seen used in some of the devices you may currently own such as mobile devices.

Advantages of Nanoelectronics can include:

  • Weight of devices decreases
  • Electronic devices display screens improved
  • Power consumption reduced

Disadvantages of Nanoelectronics can include:

  • Nanotechnology in electronics raises the possibility of microscopic recording devices, which would be virtually undetectable.

Impact of Nanotechnology

With Nanotechnology under constant and active development, no one is completely sure what will come of it. Predictions ranging from having the ability to reproduce food and cure world hunger to self-replicating nanobots completely consuming all of humanity have all been anticipated by experts. The future of nanotechnology depends on how responsibly it is developed. As such, if developed in a responsible way, it will impact humanity positively as it can present opportunities to deal with many issues in the economy.

For instance, it could solve issues relating to health. In the medical sector, researchers are looking to employ nanoparticles (particle with one or more dimensions at the nanoscale) into delivering drugs, heat, light or any substances to cells. This will decrease damage to healthy cells in the body and enable early detection for diseases. To add to that, nanotechnology may be able to solve important issues such as lack of food, water, housing and poverty in underdeveloped countries.

On the other hand, if nanotechnology is developed in a non-responsible way, it may be very detrimental to humanity. It may lead to the manufacturing of extremely small weapons with an unimaginable force of destruction. Therefore, cheap scientific tools could be used by terrorist groups and result in a dangerous outcome.

Nanotechnology is identified as a disruptive and emerging technology because it enables and has potential to many new developments. Experts and many individuals expressed that nanotechnology is “the next industrial revolution” and will influence a lot of changes in areas of social, economic and ecological. By combining different technology with nanotechnology, change can be accomplished. The use of nanotechnology provides the incentive for exponential growth of knowledge in the economy leading to the possibility of achieving new growth.

Back in 1959, an important lecture referred to as “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom”, was delivered by a visionary physicist, Richard Feynman which sparked the beginning of “nanotechnology”.

Richard Feynman

During this lecture, it was expressed that there were possibilities of manipulating matter on the molecular scale. Although little attention was attracted to this discussion, it wasn’t until 1974 in which Norio Taniguchi had referred to the term “nanotechnology” to describe ion-sputter machining.

(Molecular scale refers to the uses single molecules, or nanoscale collections of single molecules)

In 1980, Eric Drexler, a student studying at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) encountered Richard Feynman’s speech, in which he decided to promote the proposal presented during the lecture under the term “nanotechnology”. This proposal helped paved the way for the invention of the scanning tunneling microscope in 1981 and the discovery of fullerenes in 1985. As well as helping Eric Drexler with writing his book called “Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology”. From these inventions and sources, knowledge of nanotechnology has since then only expanded and become a stepping stone for the progression of nanotechnology.

Article References:

Image References:

Video References:

Blockchain Technology


General information

Blockchain technology is a decentralized network in which manifold computers participating as nodes. According to Dong (2018), this new technology takes advantage of both pre-existing concepts such as hashing algorithm, timestamp, public key infrastructure and multiple new concepts of rules, algorithms and protocols which play as core components within its architecture, including consensus algorithm, proof-of-work, smart contracts, etc… Thanks to these features, nodes within a blockchain network are peer-to-peer connected and able to perform transactions directly, securely and trustlessly with each other without any third parties.

Blockchain technology has first been introduced by Satoshi Nakamoto (2008) in his Bitcoin invention was to eliminate third-party dependency in transactions, thus, speed up the processing time of transactions and provide a secure, robust, and trust-worthy peer-to-peer network.

Blockchain technology is used for cryptoocurrencies.

However, there have been more and more new blockchains introduced after Bitcoin with extended capabilities and prominent features, which enable us to solve more problems and extend the use of blockchain, they can be named as Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric, EOS, etc.

Technical information

As mentioned above, blockchain technology consists of pre-existing and emerging techniques which collaborate logically with each other making blockchain a promising technology to rise in the future. Alharby, Aldweesh and Moorsel (2018) describe blockchain as a sequence of blocks chained together where each block stores its previous one’s hash, which is created by hashing algorithm. And, besides, each block also contains transactions. According to Antonopoulos’s speech in 2016 at University of College London (UCL), a blockchain network contains multiple nodes, each of which hold an identical copy of database contain all blocks from the genesis block of a blockchain. Any of these nodes could be miners who is responsible for validating transactions by verifying their signatures and balances (Alharby, Aldweesh and Moorsel 2018). After validating a transaction, miners introduce a block, which is a result of an intensive computational problem, to the whole network (this block is usually referred to as proof-of-work) (Alharby, Aldweesh and Moorsel 2018). This block will be validated by other nodes on the network based on the consensus rules which define how transactions should be conducted, how blocks in the chain should look like and many other criteria (Consensus Algorithms, Blockchain Technology and Bitcoin UCL – by Andreas M. Antonopoulo 2016).

Working of blockchain (Rajput et. al. 2019)

Smart contract is one of the important components of blockchain which may make it become a disruptive technology, especially Ethereum blockchain which is “Turing complete” (Antonopoulos and Wood 2018). Smart contract is basically a computer program that produces outputs as the results of the processed inputs; but this computer program is implemented on the blockchain. Decentralized applications (Dapps), each of which consists of a smart contract and a front-end web (Antonopoulos and Wood 2018). Furthermore, Antonopoulos and Wood (2018) also state that Dapps will introduce the next generation of World Wide Web with peer-to-peer protocols, this evolution is usually referred to as web3 (the third version of web).

Simple explanation of how blockchain works. (Explain the Blockchain in a simple way 2017)

Historical information

If anyone knows about Bitcoin, they will probably know the name Satoshi Nakamoto who is the creator of Bitcoin. According to Rajput et al. (2019), in 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto published a paper with the title of “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”. That paper is usually called the White Paper of Bitcoin which introduced Bitcoin to the world. However, until now, Satoshi Nakamoto identity has never been revealed, nobody knows who is (are) Satoshi. In 2019, the first block was created by Satoshi Nakamoto, marking the birth of blockchain (Singh and Singh 2016). It is the root, the beginning of the Bitcoin blockchain, therefore, it is called the Genesis block (Singh and Singh 2016). If we traceback from the current block on Bitcoin blockchain (block number more than 600,000), we will end up with the Genesis block.

Genesis block’s information captured on

Impact of technology

Blockchain technology offers security in transactions, more control of ownership over users’ data asset and rapid and direct transactions between users without any third parties. Therefore, blockchain may change the way transactions work, overseas transactions will no longer be delayed by “3 to 5 business days”, but just a few minutes. Companies may have their dapps for internal use, thus, the network is strengthened. Furthermore, businesses may have their partners in a blockchain where their data is transmitted without worries of being tampered and history of transactions are securely and robustly stored on every participant’s ledger.

Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies (Panetta 2016)

Although, blockchain is still a few years away from widely official adoption, it is moving very fast on its way. It has already reached peak of inflated expectation in Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2016 (Panetta 2016). Once blockchain becomes mainstream, we may see these things happen: blockchain-based self-driving cars where communication network between them is extremely robust, blockchain-based IoT which may have everything we own including cars, houses, phones, etc… recorded on blockchain where we can exchange them for crypto coins without any papers or banking activities.


Antonopoulos, A & Wood, G 2018, Mastering Ethereum, O’Reilly Media, retrieved 28 April 2020,

Alharby, M, Aldweesh, A & Moorsel, AV 2018, ‘Blockchain-based Smart Contracts: A Systematic Mapping Study of Academic Research’, 2018 International Conference on Cloud Computing, Big Data and Blockchain (ICCBB), Fuzhou (China), section II (A),

Consensus Algorithms, Blockchain Technology and Bitcoin UCL – by Andreas M. Antonopoulos 2016, video recording, Department of Computer Science at University College London, London.

Dong, X 2018, ‘A method of image privacy protection based on blockchain technology’, 2018 International Conference on Cloud Computing, Big Data and Blockchain (ICCBB), Fuzhou (China), section I,

Nakamoto, S 2008, Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System, retrieved 24 April 2020,

Panetta, K 2016, 3 trends appear in the Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2016, Gartner, retrieved 28 April 2020,

Rajput, S, Singh, A, Khurana, S, Bansal, T, Shreshtha, S 2019, ‘Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrenices’, 2019 Amity International Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AICAI), Dubai, UAE, Section III,

Singh, S & Singh, N 2016, ‘Blockchain: Future of Financial and Cyber Security’, 2016 2nd International Conference on Contemporary Computing and Informatics (IC3I), Noida, India, pp. 463 – 464,