In a myriad of ways driverless cars are already here. Trends indicate that the future will be only increasingly electronic and autonomous. As companies such as Google, Tesla Motors, Mercedes Benz, and now Hyundai are pushing to produce autonomous vehicles as they and other companies believe these types of vehicles will become a commonplace within the next decade or so. They believe that the advantages of using them are quite simple: by automating driving, the likelihood of car crashes decreases exponentially. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, nearly a third of all crashes could be prevented if all vehicles had forward collision and lane-departure warning systems, side-view (blind spot) assistance and adaptive headlights. And as of March 2013, Google had logged more than 500,000 miles of autonomous driving on public roads with its driverless car without incurring a crash. Although most people will still want to have the “status” of owning a car, what people crave the most is the ability to be transported from place to place in a more affordable fashion. With a traditional car, one must pay taxes, insurance, and also gas as well as parking. Though not all current expenses will be eliminated due to autonomous vehicles, but parking is one of the first norms to be disrupted.
Almost 30% of land in business districts in most major cities in the United States are devoted to just parking alone. According to some companies, autonomous vehicles would simply drop off passengers at their designated location, drive off, and park in a selected satellite location.
This method has the potential to reduce household car ownership and promote ride sharing. For now, a major reason autonomous vehicles are not ubiquitous is because of its inability to sense and interpret data in split-second fashion. Differentiating between a stick on the road versus something like a deer can make all of the difference for how an autonomous vehicle would react. Furthermore, how would autonomous vehicles handle different conditions such as :heavy snow, rocky terrain, inclines and declines?
Ensuring that autonomous vehicles cannot be comprised by hackers is also a prominent issue motor companies and stakeholders alike face. Not long ago the U.S. government issued a new series of federal guidelines that are meant to allow the motor industry to decide how to create these autonomous vehicles. Uber has also begun testing out their autonomous vehicles in Pittsburg which indicates that driverless cars are becoming more mainstream than many had initially anticipated. Much like with all fledgling technologies that have come and are sure to in the future, there will be a series of issues initially.
But, over time, these issues will be panned out and consumers will be able to enjoy these innovations, like autonomous vehicles(soon to be) unabated. Autonomous vehicles are here, and they will make major disruptions in how we commute as well as spend our time on a day-to day- basis. Get ready.