Driverless cars are a daunting concept. It’s almost like taking a step into the future! Now, cars themselves are by no means anything out of the ordinary. Nowadays, millions of people take to the roads in their own vehicles, whether manual or automatic. Most of the time, we use them to get from A to B without even thinking about it. For many, driving has become a habit that they carry out without having to put all too much thought into gear changes, indicating, or steering: it seems to come naturally to them! However, when we drive a car, we are generally in control of the situation. Sure, there may be issues such as poor weather conditions, uneven road surfaces, or sudden hazards in the form of animals, people, or inanimate objects, but we can generally avoid these of deal with them quickly and safely. Whoever is in the driver’s seat becomes responsible for what happens to them and the passengers of the vehicle and thus drives in a sensible and legal way that ensures not only their safety but the safety of all other road users and pedestrians nearby. Now, the past couple of decades have seen a profound increase in interest in the areas of artificial intelligence and robotic development and cars haven’t been left out of this. Companies across the globe, including Google and renowned car makers such as Tesla, Audi, and Nissan, have been investing huge sums of cash and huge amounts of time and expertise into the incorporation of artificial intelligence and roadworthy vehicles. The result: driverless cars. These robotic vehicles move from one destination to another without the need for the presence of a human operator. Considering the number of accidents that occur while a human operator is present, it’s not surprising that many of us feel sceptical regarding the presence of these huge, powerful, unmanned machines on our roads. But not to worry. Half of the fear lies in our lack of knowledge on the subject. Here are a few key details that will help you to come to terms with this new development in modern day society.
The first thing that jumps to most people’s minds when the subject of autonomous cars comes up is safety. Now, these cars are not yet on the roads so we cannot be sure exactly how they will fit into our current traffic systems. However, you can rest assured that nothing will be approved for use on public roads until it is proven that it is low risk and as safe as possible. It is generally argued that driverless cars will prove to be safer than those driven by people, as you remove the margin for human error. A driverless car cannot make negative decisions such as driving under the influence of alcohol, for example. It also cannot be distracted by things going on in or around the vehicle. A high-quality personal injury attorney representing car accident victims will be able to tell you many a tale of things that go wrong when people are irresponsible behind the wheel. Hopefully, driverless cars will reduce these issues!
The Proposed Timeline
Assisted Driving (2016)
Let’s start with what we already have. In 2016, assisted driving was launched. This essentially consists of the implementation of technology to vehicles that makes the driving process more simple. These include cameras and radars that can alert you when your car is in close proximity to anything, whether it be another road user, a pedestrian, or an inanimate object. Developments such as emergency braking systems or autonomous emergency braking also help to reduce accidents and other potentially dangerous incidents.
Hands-Off Self Driving (2018)
By 2018, it is predicted that vehicles will be available with hands-off driving options for motorways. This may seem like a small development, as drivers will still be expected to remain in control at all times, ready to step in should a problem arise, but it’s a huge step when it comes to the process of testing out self-driving on the roads.
Automated Driving (2021)
The next big development is set for 2021. This is when cars are set to be prepared for complete autonomy. Radars, cameras and lasers will be used to give the vehicle an idea of what’s happening on the road ahead, allowing the driver to focus on other tasks.
Entirely Autonomous Vehicles (2025)
2025 may be a while off, but this is when cars are set to be entirely autonomous, without the need for any human intervention at all. This will come around sooner than you’d imagine!
While we’re always bound to be tentative and sceptical when it comes to major changes in the way that we live, autonomous cars are being developed at a rapid rate, and it’s time that we start getting used to the idea of them!