Are you driven by a desire to know more about driverless cars? We are glad to share basic facts about it. Experts believe that over the next decade, accelerating autonomous driving technology, including advances in artificial intelligence, sensors, cameras, radar and data analytics, are set to transform not only how we drive but the notion of car ownership itself.
To begin with: The six levels of automation, defined under international standards by the Society of Automotive Engineers, range from “no automation” to “full automation and the majority of car manufacturers estimate the first highly to fully automated vehicles [AVs] will hit the market between 2020-2025.
AVs will enable new service configurations where consumers are delivered door to door with virtually no stops in a comfortable vehicle with just one to three other passengers.
Such services will be safer, reduce pollution and congestion, and will also bring about a paradigm shift in personal vehicle ownership rates, which are likely to decline steeply, according to an expert quoted in The Guardian. A recent survey of car manufacturing executives by KPMG similarly revealed that 59% of industry bosses believe that more than half of all car owners today will no longer want to own a car by 2025.
Instead of today’s car ownership model, we are far more likely to rely on “mobility as a service” by 2030. "Imagine an Uber-like service you can summon at the touch of a button, but without a driver. Renting is not necessarily the right word – consumers will buy a service like using an Uber today, but with a wider range of vehicle configurations to suit different types of travel – family outings, long-distance sleeper travel, or shared commutes,” says the article in The Guardian.
Will there still be crashes?
A 2008 survey by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that human error is the critical reason for 93% of crashes. When you eliminate human error, our roads become dramatically safer: no more drink-driving, phone calls at the wheel, carelessness, inattention or plain bad driving. Clearly there needs to be adequate industry testing to ensure that AVs are safe for all other road users, but we can look forward to far safer roads as human drivers become a thing of the past.
Will all cars be electric? The jury is still out it. Bosch is developing a lithium-ion solid state battery that they hope will double the range of electric vehicles at half the cost of today’s batteries, which will increase take-up among those who live in the suburbs and beyond. According to a projection by 2025, globally 15% of vehicles are going to have an electric component, whether that’s a pure electric vehicle, a plug-in hybrid or full hybrid.
By definition, a driverless car has more control units, computing power, lines of code, and wireless connections with the outside world than a regular car today, which is why it may be more vulnerable to hackers. A hacker can potentially take control of the car, through exploitation of a weakness, and could cause the vehicle to refuse to start, or to crash, or it could exploit the privacy of the driver, and [their] data, including financial information.
But experts are working on enhancing the security levels.
From vertical take-off and landing “flying car” prototypes to “sidewalk robots” and delivery drones, by 2030 our roads and pavements may have begun to resemble a scene from Blade Runner.