Warning: Autonomous vehicles may be closer than they appear
While self-driving vehicles may seem a long way down the road, a future without steering wheels is closer to reality than many people think.
An important investor of autonomous technology is the UK, which announced new laws in 2015 for testing driverless vehicles on roads and an unprecedented £20 million, equivalent to $22.7 million USD, investment into the technology, according to an article on Alphr.com by Curtis Moldrich entitled, “Self-driving cars: How far away are we really from autonomous cars?”
Tesla is currently the leader in the automous car industry by including an “autonomous driving mode” in their Tesla Model S. When activated on the highway, the autonomous mode takes control of the pedal inputs as well as steering inputs, according to Tesla.
While the vehicle is in an “autonomous state,” Tesla refers to the system of more as a “driving aid” than a fully autonomous vehicle, according to an article on CarThrottle.com by Alex Kersten entitled, “Testing Tesla’s Autopilot system at 70 mph.”
Another important leader in intelligent transportation systems is Google, with the Google Car, a fully autonomous vehicle. The Google Car utilizes a roof-mounted camera featuring an array of 32 or 64 lasers to measure the distance between objects, building a 3D map at a range of 200 meters and allowing the car to see hazards.
To date, crashes involving the Google Car have all been due to external human error rather than issues with the cars, according to Moldrich.
With Tesla and Google’s vehicles already in development for the past five years, other companies such as BMW and Mercedes are following their footsteps.
In an article posted on BusinessInsider.com, entitled, “10 million self-driving cars will be on the road by 2020,” author John Greenough wrote that the production of autonomous vehicles should grow over 134 percent in the next five years, making them a popular choice in consumer car buying.