About a decade ago, Waymo promised to bring fully autonomous cars on our roads. However, to date, they have been unable to live up to their promise. Still, they have made significant steps in achieving autonomous mobility, which makes the future of autonomous cars very positive. Many automakers, for example, Tesla, Volkswagen, BMW, in the industry, have also taken up the challenge to work with tech giants to produce fully autonomous cars.
What is The Future of Self-driving Cars?
The progress in the development of this risky and complex evolution is slow but sure. One of the steps made in delivering autonomous cars is the autopilot feature. Tesla is among the many companies that have tested this technology.
With the autopilot feature, the driver only needs to be behind the wheel. They don’t have to drive but ensure that they remain alert during driving. Through the autopilot mode, Tesla brings a notification after every 30 seconds to alert the driver that they need to be vigilant while in the car.
The end goal of all this technology is to develop a fully driverless car. However, some tests made by Waymo with drivers under supervision and driving under autopilot show that most of the drivers were unable to remain focused for long while still in the car.
To know where we are heading with autonomous mobility, it is crucial to look at why we need this technology with us and the challenges we expect.
Benefits of Autonomous Mobility
Research done by Ohio University showed some pretty interesting statistics on the benefits of autonomous mobility technology being implemented on our roads. According to the study, some of the benefits that we are likely to have once this technology comes into play are:
Reduced Accident Rates
When driverless cars come into our roads, accidents are expected to be reduced by 90%. The reduction in number of accidents will be attributed to less human error, such as drunk driving, overspeeding, recklessness, which is the primary cause of most accidents on our roads.
Once Artificial Intelligence, a significant aspect in the overall success of this project, comes in to replace the human driver, drastic changes will be seen. This is because the chances of overspeeding will be limited since the speed will be fully programmed, and unlike humans, there will be little room for mistakes, thus increasing the chances of safety.
Less Time Consuming
How self-driving cars are expected to work is quite interesting. The vehicles will use maps and sensor information to determine the location and the shortest route to get to your given destination.
This means that the car will be able to access the destination in less time compared to the time that would be spent by a human driver, especially if the driver is not conversant with the short routes. Research indicates the time people spend on roads is expected to be cut by 40%.
According to this research, autonomous cars can access shorter routes to reach their destinations. This reduces traffic and congestion that would otherwise lead to wasted time that could be used to achieve more objective activities, especially in workplaces.
Reduced Environmental Pollution
The research from Ohio University shows that autonomous cars will help reduce emissions in the environment by up to 60%. This is because auto-makers can program these cars to reduce emissions. This will make the world an ideal place for existence.
Less Parking Space
The research shows that self-driving cars can fit in 15% less space compared to today’s vehicles. Nowadays, parking spaces are set up to hold fewer vehicles because some room needs to be left so that every driver can easily access their cars. However, this is not the case with self-driving cars.
Challenges of Autonomous Mobility
Few people in the world are open to the idea of autonomous cars driving them around. This makes it hard to fully explore the safety of these cars in both typical situations and in complex situations where Artificial Intelligence is expected to make a quick and random decision.
This technology is highly dependent on both lidar and radar technology to access their destinations and ensure the safety of the passengers on board. However, poor weather conditions can tamper with the car’s sensors and cameras, which is a challenge.
Decline in The Oil Industry
The fact that fewer cars will have to travel more miles means that only the traveling cars will require fuel, which will lead to a sharp decrease in the amount of fuel bought; thus, the gains in the oil industry will also drop significantly.
As of now, there are no standards and regulations put in place to guide the production and testing of these autonomous vehicles. However, the regulations guiding the production are meant to assume the presence of humans in case of an emergency, as in the case of autopilot.
The study shows that if Google’s autonomous cars were available in the market for purchase, they would cost $150,000. This is quite pricey and would be quite difficult for average households to raise and spend such an amount on a car. This will make it very hard for the whole world to get fully autonomous.
Promising a quick achievement in making fully autonomous cars in the near future would be overrated. However, the slow but sure steps being made are essential in ensuring the safety of the driver and the passengers on board. This is key in achieving a fully autonomous car model.
Engaging the public is also a key factor to consider here in the U.S and in other parts of the world to ensure the diversity of the model. Finally, seeing these cars come into our societies, help out in all aspects and still be in a position to maintain safety will be a crucial element to look out for.
One fact that we cannot ignore is, the future of autonomous driving is irreversible. We can confidently agree that it is so close, and we will enjoy more comfortable and less tiring rides soon.