This report analyzes the overall concept of driverless cars which is based upon several interesting and unique technological features that help it in driving freely on the road. These cars greatly rely on different technological aspects to drive. In addition to being the future of automobiles, there have also been discussed the impacts of autonomous cars on the automobile and tech industry and how they can work together to manufacture cars that are termed to be driverless cars.
I have also mentioned the safety concerns related to autonomous cars as it was important to mention because of the fatality that occurred to a car owner earlier this year and which led to the rise of several questions as to whether driverless cars are safe or not? Lastly, top driverless cars in the industry are also mentioned so that if you are interested to get one in the near future, you can make a better decision.
From the immense reduction in the number of accidents to easing congestions and improving emissions compliance, driverless cars bring in a new revolution. According to the US Government release, the driverless cars estimate to be worth £900 billion on the global market by 2025 as the industry is gaining by 16% every year. The best thing about this technology is that they will be much better at following rules as compared to humans.
So, how will these cars work? There are many systems conjoined to make his technology operate.
There have been installed radar sensors around the car which tend to monitor the actual positions of other vehicles nearby.
Lidar sensors are dotted to detect road edges and identification of road markings through the bouncing pulses of light off the surroundings of the car.
Video cameras are installed which read road signs, traces traffic signals and keep track of all other vehicles along with looking out for other obstacles as well as pedestrians.
There are ultrasonic sensors fitted within wheels that are capable of detecting the position of other vehicles and edges while parking.
Lastly, there is a central computer analysis that collects all data from different sensors to manipulate acceleration, steering, and brakes.
According to a study conducted by HIS Automotive, almost 10% of all new light cars sold out will include complete self-driving capabilities by the year 2035. Many technology companies including several automakers are working on incremental self-driving elements which will take us all to the brand new era of vehicle autonomy.
This eventually means that there are several companies that are already working on delivering some type of autonomous vehicle technology and this trend is not going to slow down now.
Impact of Driverless Cars
There are several carmakers that are already worried about the prospect of this industry. The increasing trend of affordable services of car-sharing offered by Lyft and Uber, maintaining a lifestyle without having an automobile vehicle has become a lot easier. This led to major automakers to invest in this type of services. Moreover, automobile makers are also making investments in the manufacturing of driverless cars that can also result in another possible disturbance in the standing of the market.
There are two predictions that the widespread use of driverless cars in the next few decades, families and individuals will be buying fewer vehicles. The fact is that the car will operate automatically and will be able to perform more functions efficiently as compared to traditional cars.
Moreover, it is very important to determine the impact of driverless cars on the merging of two major industries – auto and tech industries. Many renowned names of the automobile and technology industry have joined hands to create this car of the future. The main concept behind this association is to deliver what is best. The case for the automobile industry, they will be manufacturing vehicles at a larger scale that are emissions and safety compliant. Whereas, for the tech industry, their software is only for operational purposes.
Trends toward driverless car usage have increased alongside the damage potential from the idea. The fatality of an autonomous car owner was the first case and as a matter of fact, these cars can face accidents two to five times daily.
Although the rate of accidents for these cars is relatively higher, most accidents occurred in an autonomous car and cars driven by humans are mainly because of human fault. As a matter of fact, this did not occur until this year’s end when an autonomous car faced an accident. This eventually leads to a question that why these driverless cars categorized to face more traffic and road accidents. Even when they started to design to less likely cause such an incident? Ironically, the issue here is that these cars program designed to obey and be in compliance with the road rules. However, on the highway or on a very busy intersection, humans, many times disregard road rules and drives as they find necessary. This is actually the main reason why the traditional approach of driverless cars is actually in the lone of increasing car accidents.
This failure to overcome this element led two leading tech and automobile giants in the industry of autonomous cars. Tesla and Google, to adopt different approaches so that they can control the issue notably. Google conducted a small survey in which it tested drivers on driverless cars and which revealed that drivers started trusting these cars immediately and ceased to pay attention, Google made a decision to go slow with a goal of manufacturing a vehicle that is about 100% driverless. On the other side, Tesla goes on to a different approach. Although, the cars of this automobile maker already includes various autonomous features, however, the automobile company has strictly instructed its drivers to constantly hold the steering while driving and remain alert. In this way, the company will be able to collect data so as to work upon and improve the underlying technology.
Another most significant safety and security concern with both cars having drivers as well as driverless cars is the risk of hacking. The hefty expanse of technology present in these cars on the various ways in which they connect to the web, hackers will find it easy to take over any vehicle easily.
Top Driverless Cars
Google’s Driverless Cars
In the space of driverless cars, Google is certainly the dominant leader. The tech giant has managed to cross yet another milestone through its autonomous car technology by racking a total of 2 million miles with its driverless vehicle on the road. Another step in this aspect taken by Google is its association with Fiat Chrysler to manufacture future driverless cars. This partnership will involve Google’s technology associated with 100 vehicles manufactured by Fiat, especially for the tech giant.
Google is with a clear advantage in the driverless car scenario which other manufacturers can’t deny. Though, it is unclear how the company plans to earn profits from this technology. However, what is clear is that there is no sign of backing out from this idea. Having millions of autonomous miles covered, joining hands with top automobile manufacturer Fiat and a lot of spending in R&D, investors are definitely betting in Google’s advantage.
Tesla’s Driverless Technology
CEO of Tesla has also announced that their vehicles will become driverless across the country by 2018 or perhaps some few years ahead. The company has already included some auto-pilot features in its vehicles, however; it has undergone severe criticism after a Tesla owner faced a crash. This happened at that time when the autopilot feature failed to recognize a turning truck in front of the vehicle.
The main advantage of driverless cars for Tesla is that they are more advanced in vehicles and technology as compared to others. The upcoming models have autopilot capabilities. Other automobile manufacturers are busy creating their version of autonomous cars but, the version of Tesla is far more prolific.
Driverless or autonomous cars are somewhat new as well as exciting technology. Similar to any other new advancement in technology, these cars also have some risks involved. Especially in its early stage, however; the manufacturers assured to control this risk and drivers will be safe.
While the idea of autonomous cars tends to create a sense of excitement in your imagination. There is still a lot of time and effort needed before they go available, safe as well as regulated. This transition is quite a difficult one as driverless cars mean that car owners need to give up their control at the speed of 70 and more MPH. Moreover, these cars are also quite susceptible to virtual attacks. In spite of all the risks involved, driverless cars are a significant step within the aspect of transportation technology.
- Armstrong, J. (2016) How do driverless cars work? Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/cars/features/how-do-driverless-cars-work/ (Accessed: 16 October 2016).
- Deaton, J.P. and Hall-Geisler, K. (2008) How Driverless cars will work. Available at: http://auto.howstuffworks.com/under-the-hood/trends-innovations/driverless-car.htm (Accessed: 16 October 2016).
- Mitchell, M. (2015) ‘A Wolrd of Driverless cars’, Nature, 518(-), p. 2.
- Neiger, C. (2016) 3 top Driverless car stocks to buy now — the motley fool. Available at: http://www.fool.com/investing/2016/10/15/3-top-driverless-car-stocks-to-buy-now.aspx (Accessed: 16 October 2016).
- Sliwinski, M. (2016) How close are we to Driverless cars? Available at: http://lawstreetmedia.com/issues/technology/close-driverless-cars/ (Accessed: 16 October 2016).