Over the years, considerable advancements have been made with regards to technology and the legalities of their usage. The next generation of cars will be autonomous, using built-in technology that allows the vehicle to be in control. As a self-driving car, it will be capable of sensing its surroundings and operating with little or no human interference. For now, such vehicles exist as models and prototypes, perfecting the advanced technology that will ultimately be safely navigating the car. These control systems that are incorporated into the car’s artificial intelligence will be able to determine the suitable paths to sense various obstacles, and identify signs. The sensory systems in some of these vehicles will one day even have the capacity to update their maps despite changing environments, therefore never losing track of their positioning.
Advantages vs. Disadvantages
If such vehicles were to predominantly take over the market, there could be many advantages and benefits to, both, drivers and their cars. For example, perhaps we would see a decrease in collision, heavy traffic, and pollution. The autonomous system would have a better reaction time and be void of emotional interference, while managing the movement of traffic at a better and safer rate.
However, there may also be possible risks with heavy dependence on automated vehicles. We have all experienced and heard of crashes, hacking of systems, and technical difficulties. The potential for disaster is equally there, despite the numerous advantages. Between unreliable software and the ability to jeopardize cyber safety, such dependence may have a negative backlash.
A Step Forward for Mankind
While the industry is still far from producing completely autonomous vehicles that essentially drive themselves, they are in fact currently creating technology that allows for partial control in certain situations, such as parallel parking. Sure, parallel parking has already been done, but only a basic version of it that still requires work on the driver’s part. For years, automated parallel parking has required that the driver complete particular steps in order for the vehicle to successfully back in.
The BMW i3 is an electric car that features the ability to locate an available parking spot and assume the appropriate positioning until the car is in its designated space. Today, BMW is perfecting this notion by producing a system that navigates the car to an available parking spot, then situates itself accordingly, and ultimately parks itself in the designated spot without any effort from the driver except for the mere press of a button. Moreover, engineers at BMW have come up with technology that will keep the vehicle in its respective lane as it steadily drives down a street or highway.
On the other hand, Audi is creating autopilot driving mode technology as an add-on option, which will ultimately allow the car to accelerate, brake, and steer itself using various built-in radars and sensors. In order to be aware of the vehicle’s surrounding environment, the Audi must put its laser system, radars, and ultrasonic sensors into play. Even tech gurus like Google Inc. have toyed with a similar vehicle.
These days, many major companies are getting in on this advancement, as it is a hot topic in the automobile industry. Though it will probably take several years before a fully autonomous car goes into production. The cost of building a vehicle that can get from Point A to Point B with no effort on the passenger’s part is undoubtedly very expensive and lacks the appropriate amount of testing to even be considered for personal use yet.
Furthermore, legislation does not permit drivers to provide vehicles with full control for liability purposes and safety precautions. Additionally, at a global scale, each country’s laws vary, therefore making this a highly daunting venture to consider in the present time. However, it is very likely that we may start seeing and using technology that assumes temporary control over vehicles as of this year, alleviating the burden of dreary tasks. Most drivers are aware of how tiring constant, little adjustments while driving can be. Automated driving could be put to use in monotonous situations, where drivers do not have much to do but stop and go in short increments while stuck in traffic. It becomes very easy to get distracted and potentially get into an accident, even when driving at slow speeds.
A Race To The Top
Although the industry has evolved at a steady pace for many years, we can now get a quick look into what the future holds for driving as advancements are currently in motion. While the idea of putting our lives at the mercy of artificial intelligence may come off as frightening, the automobile industry is in the process of a dramatic turning point, one that may impact the economy, environment, and society as a whole.
As previously mentioned, cars that can control acceleration speeds, braking, and steering have already begun to emerge. Although these capabilities still require a driver’s attention and assistance, next generation advancements may be ready sooner than we think, allowing a driver to go hands-free in a fully autonomous vehicle. Automobile giants like Audi, BMW, Ford, and GM all plan to make gradual stages of these advancements commercially available within the next decade. In pursuit of perfecting its programming, Google Inc. has already invested millions into software and technology that could potentially drive these vehicles. For many years, the company has been test driving them on vehicles along the roadways of Silicon Valley. The driverless car has been a project of Google’s for a while now, in which the self-driving automobile is navigated by the software that they have entitled Google Chauffeur. The automated vehicle is equipped with $150,000 worth of advanced technology and a $70,000 laser radar system. On the roof of the car lies a laser installment that produces an elaborate 3D projection of its surroundings. This technology has made it possible for Google to create a rigorous mapping system that combines its findings with other high-definition maps of the world, making it possible for the car to correctly navigate itself within its corresponding environment.
Demand is high for computer-based control of vehicles, and the future holds much progression in its regard. Competition between the biggest and the most luxurious in the industry has already begun, thereby keeping them on their feet and in search of the next greatest thing. In this case, that is automated driving. Companies, like BMW or Audi, who seek to provide a prestigious experience are fighting to be among the first in the world who pave the way for autonomous driving. Not investing their time or money into this would, otherwise, be destructive to the image that they uphold and the lifestyle that they aim to represent. Thanks to Google Inc. and their extensive research, software testing, and technological breakthroughs, the automobile industry can make their impressionable ideas a reality. There are numerous potential advantages and benefits to this automobile evolution. It is already evident that semi-automated cars have assisted in the decrease of accidents due to their sensors that alert drivers of impending collisions, amongst other possible warning signs, some of which bring the vehicle to a complete stop if necessary. With more study and research, as well as appropriate legislative laws that protect the livelihood of drivers, this advancement will lead to greater things to come.