Getting Autonomous Cars on the Road Takes Longer Than You Think
“How long does it take to get fully autonomous vehicles on the road?” That is the million dollar question, and it seems the answer is that it will take much longer than you might expect.
In fact, it will take years before the “person system” part of the equation becomes fully automated. Ford recently said that “autonomous” cars are just beginning to test and that even it takes a human to monitor its safety features on the road, they still take about three to five years before fully autonomous systems will be ready for the road.
Still, not all car makers agree with that statement. BMW has already begun testing their self-driving cars on the streets of Munich. The German car maker is planning to produce their own prototype autonomous cars in the near future.
Toyota, Mazda, and Honda also have similar plans for their own autonomous cars. VW’s Martin Winterkorn recently told the Wall Street Journal that the automaker’s sales goals are to produce one hundred fully self-driving vehicles in the next ten years. GM CEO Mary Barra has said that its goal is to have an automobile that can “discern and react to pedestrians, cyclists, and other potential road users”, but it will probably be many years before fully autonomous cars will be available to the public.
The fact remains that the first autonomous vehicles will have a very strict target market that will be satisfied by their presence. Those who are wary of the fully autonomous cars are not the target market and would therefore like to continue relying on the help of humans to drive on the road.
That means that for people who want to begin using the vehicles and want to gain confidence in them, they will need time to become familiar with them. After that, they could become the first testers of the fully automated cars and are likely to have to wait longer than those waiting to be first in line at the grand opening of a self-driving taxi.
When fully autonomous cars come out, many observers believe that they will be far safer than today’s cars and that they will be a great improvement over them. However, they might still need some human intervention to ensure that they do not cause an accident or cause more damage than necessary.
One of the automatic safety features that these new auto cars will have is Lane Departure Warning System. In case of a vehicle that is moving out of its lane, a warning light will flash on the instrument panel.
Autonomous Cars Can Save Your Life
The idea of human intervention is that if a driver is unable to act, the auto manufacturer could intervene and handle the situation. This is different from the current auto manufacturer’s manual controls because it has no additional sensors and relies only on sensors on the road.
One of the biggest issues that auto manufacturers have had with self-driving cars is the issue of trust. They are concerned that their customers will not accept the fact that they are not responsible for driving the vehicle.
One way to overcome this is to have the manufacturers offer a “remote unlocking” feature so that when the vehicle is in autonomous mode, the passengers can be given the opportunity to access the vehicle without breaking into it themselves. Since they are not in control of the vehicle, it is a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Automakers are well aware that fully autonomous cars are coming and have already started creating prototypes that can be driven by a computer. As these cars become available to the public, we will learn about how much of a difference it makes.