There are a lot of exciting technological advances being made each and every day. One of the most anticipated is driverless car technology, which is going to change the way people drive forever. This technology will have the power to reduce accidents, save lives and cut down on driver errors dramatically. Although it’s not currently available in cars, it is being worked on and should roll out in the near future.
Why Driverless Technology?
Each year 93% of all traffic accidents are a result of human error, from people following too close to drivers texting on their phones. Unfortunately in 2010 there were over 30,000 deaths due to these traffic accidents, many of which could be avoided by safer driving. Self-driving cars can change all of this by creating a network with other self-driving cars. They would drive in a coordinated formation without following too closely or making errors that humans commonly do. This would result in far fewer accidents and humans being able to do what they want while traveling inside of their vehicle.
How Does it Work?
Different technologies, including: high definition cameras, pedestrian detectors, laser sensors, accelerometers and more are currently being developed by different manufacturers. These would be placed into every car, and each car would be connected to a common network so that they could work together. The technology would be able to sense the surroundings, making them able to drive, stop, turn and go in order to get to the set destination.
One of the biggest challenges that developers face is creating a technology that is similar to artificial intelligence. For example, the car would need to have the sense to change to their environment, like if there were a child that ran into the street. Christian Schumacher, who works for the Continental Automotive Systems, N.A. states that there are still a lot of algorithms that need to be created in order for this to happen, and those are going to be very complex.
The vehicles would follow all of the rules of the road without the chance of human error happening, as no human would be driving! Many of the major technologies that are needed to make the driverless car happen are currently under production, but the massive network needed to link these together is what still needs to be created. There are a lot of companies working on this, including Toyota, which already rolled out the Toyota Intelligent Transport System.
How Is It Beneficial?
Once the technology is developed and the network is working as it should, travelers will be able to sit back and relax while they are in their car. Since the average driver spends 250 hours per year just driving, this can really change their productivity levels. They can read, take a nap, talk on their phone and do anything else that they need to without having to worry about looking at the road.
A study done by MIT MediaLab even estimated that drivers could save a considerable amount of gas, as they estimate that 40% of the gas that drivers use is spent on driving around looking for parking spots. This will revolutionize the way people travel and can dramatically change the way roadways look as well.
Driverless Technology Today
There are actually driverless cars already on the road today, but these have not been mass produced and are actually not legal in most states. Some of the states that have legalized these include: Nevada, Florida and California. One of the most famous autonomous cars was created by Google. This is a Prius that has driven over 300,000 miles in California, chauffeuring employees and picking up visitors from the airport. Stanford actually created one of the first driverless cars and ended up winning $2 million as a result of a race challenge.
Another thing that a lot of people need to consider is what the cost would be. A study done by J.D. Power and Associates estimates that the average price consumers would be willing to pay for this technology is around $3,000. Unfortunately the price of this is much higher at the moment. But, researchers are hopeful that prices will go down as new technologies become available.
The automotive industry has already gotten started on mass producing this technology, but there are still a lot of pieces that need to be linked to make that happen. Fortunately new research is being done every day by some of the biggest companies, which means you could have a self-driving car in your hands sooner than you may think!