4 out of 4 stars
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I have never seen a self-driving car, but now I know how one works! Have You Seen a Self-Driving Car? is a children’s book targeting ages five though twelve. The mother-daughter author team of Anna Prakash-Ashton and Elaina Ashton expertly explain the functionality and fun of autonomous robotic vehicles.
Both authors have received awards in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) advocacy and outreach. Their passion and expertise translate to inquisitive energy on every page. Impressively, Ms. Ashton was a high school senior when this book was published.
The illustrations feature happy cars with a LiDAR (light detection and ranging) unit on top and oversized interiors to show people relaxing as they ride. The book’s thoughtful design begins by taking the reader through nine questions about self-driving cars. The topics range from how these vehicles benefit senior citizens and people with disabilities to how they navigate school crossings safely. Each question is addressed with a colorful, full-page illustration. A short answer is provided at the top of the page, and a paragraph with a more detailed explanation is given at the bottom. After the question-and-answer section, the book covers a few key technologies such as ultrasonic sensors and GPS (Global Positioning System), each with their own brilliant illustration and easy-to-understand definition. A learning assessment and glossary conclude this 28-page book.
The complexity of the technology required to operate a car safely is amazing. The scenarios illustrate how easily distractions like texting, inclement weather, and physical impairment can cause accidents. I learned an important tip: Do NOT ignore the warning lights on these cars! They are not highlighting issues that can wait a few days.
What I like most about this book is it informs and inspires. I commend the authors for not diluting the content. These pages can encourage children interested in technology to pursue a career that will make self-driving cars a fully functioning capability in their lifetime. Adults will also marvel at how the progression of technology over the years such as anti-lock brakes and park assist have led to this point in the evolution of driving. I rate Have You Seen a Self-Driving Car? 4 out of 4 stars. There was nothing I disliked in this book. The illustrations were colorful and engaging, and it was edited well. I found only a few minor errors. I recommend this delightful read to technology lovers of all ages.
Have You Seen a Self-Driving Car?
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