What is the future of self-driving cars?

Driverless car has been an on-going development for some time now. Many auto industry experts say that the technology is not far off, and we are likely to see practical models in the next few years. The idea behind self-driving cars is being able to obey traffic rules, avoid accidents, detect and navigate around objects without human intervention. To do this self-driving automotive use a combination of built-in infrared, GPS, Sonar, cameras, and radar sensors.

Some Degree of Implementation

Already, most major car owners have a degree of semiautonomous technology implemented in their modern vehicles. These include but are not limited to adaptive cruise control, lane assist, and parallel park. Tesla’s electric vehicles have an autopilot feature that controls the vehicle down the highway, changing lanes and adjusting speed according to the traffic flow. Google has been testing their self-driving vehicles on California roads for years. In 2017, the company started encouraging members of the public to try their autonomous car rides.

Improvements Still Needed

Despite major developments in the self-driving space, there have been points of concern.

In 2016, an Ohio resident going by the name Joshua Brown was involved in a fatal crash while driving his Tesla Model S. There were suggestions that he was using the vehicles autopilot mode when it crashed with a semitrailer on a Florida highway, leading to his death. There were widespread fears about the safety of the auto-driver mode. However, 8 months after the accident, the regulator cleared Tesla’s self-driving system of any faults.

Earlier this year, another Tesla Model S crashed into a fire track while cruising down a California highway in autopilot mode. While there were no injuries in this accident, it was yet another case of the driver’s life being put on the life by an auto-piloted vehicle. A Tesla spokesman responded that the autopilot facility was only intended for use by fully attentive drivers.

There’s a lot of promise in self-driving automation. But for now, divers of vehicles with automation features should exercise caution until such a time when the technology is in widespread use and it’s safety has been verified.

When can we expect fully autonomous vehicles

Self-driving vehicles are likely to flood the highways in the next few years – not decades. According to BI Intelligence, a market research firm, there will be nearly 10 million vehicles with self-driving facilities on the road by the year 2020.

Some automakers are working to make sure autonomous vehicles become available even sooner. GM is working to make a new crop of self-driving vehicles (which will lack common controls such as pedals and steering wheels) available as early as 2019. Toyota recently launched it’s e-Palette car, which it envisions will be used in applications such as parcel delivery and ride-sharing in the near future.

Free Autonomous Rides?

According to a Judith Donath, a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center, the biggest development of the self-driving technology is free car rides. Passengers will be able to summon free rides as long as they are willing to make a stop or two at sponsoring locations. A free trip across town might be available for a passenger who is willing to make a 15 minutes stop at McDonald’s on the day. If not McDonalds, then another location…maybe a bookstore or a game parlor. Realtors could pay to have self-driving vehicles move slowly past featured real estate. According to Ms. Donath, it’ll be a comprehensive system making profit for itself but convincing you otherwise.

Taking Seniors to their medical appointments will also be a huge benefit in the autonomous Driving space. The children of seniors often have to take time off work to take mom or dad to their doctor’s appointments and having a robot car go pick them up and take them to where they need to go safely will be a huge benefit.

Have your say