The driverless car era is approaching, and soon you may never drive again!
Major car manufacturers are competing to create better autonomous vehicles. Ford recently announced its plans to bring a fleet into testing in 2018. And autonomous Ubers are on the streets of some major cities.
Driverless vehicles are already on the road in several states. But, how soon will you be able to buy your own? And are they really driverless?
Keep reading and we’ll break down the future of car automation.
Most modern cars have some level of automation. Features like hazard warnings and anti-lock brakes come standard on many vehicles.
Recent developments in automation have further minimized human input. But, owning your own fully-autonomous vehicle may still be a couple decades off.
Keep reading to learn about the industry’s standards in vehicle automation.
SAE International Automation Levels
SAE International is a trade organization that regulates automotive technology. In 2017 they created the industry’s standards for classifying vehicle automation.
Level 0: Cars have no automation. The driver controls everything. These are standard vehicles without luxury features — like cruise control or lane departure warnings.
Level 1: Cars equipped with programs that take control of the speed or steering. The driver handles all other vehicle operations. Examples include anti-lock brakes and cruise-control.
Level 2: Cars with partial automation. These vehicles are able to steer, brake, and speed up under particular conditions, like highway driving. The driver takes care of complex actions like changing lanes and hazard awareness.
Level 3: Conditional automation means the car can navigate most driving scenarios. But, the driver must remain vigilant for unexpected hazards.
Level 4: High automation vehicles can operate without interference under certain conditions. This automation is available in self-driving fleets of taxis and commuter cars.
Level 5: A fully-automated vehicle requires no input from the driver. Most designs wouldn’t even have steering wheels. There are no restrictions on where these cars can travel.
Often “fully automated” refers to Levels 4 and 5. Because they need little driver’s input. And most companies plan on skipping Level 3 in favor of developing Level 4 and 5 cars.
But there are some Level 3 features available in the luxury market — like Volvo Driver Assist and Tesla’s autopilot. These features are the most advanced available on the consumer market.
Making the Leap to Full Automation
Current driver assistance programs should operate with driver oversight. They didn’t need to be perfect before they hit the market. These programs improved over time through a process of trial and error.
But, Level 5 cars don’t have steering wheels or any capabilities for human input. They will need to operate flawlessly before they hit the streets.
And a driverless car that can operate perfectly in all situations and locations is a tall order. These cars need an intimate knowledge of all roads. Additionally, they need to be able to sense other the vehicles on the road and reason quickly.
Artificial intelligence will be crucial in achieving these goals.
Companies with the most-advanced AI will be leaders in the field. And tech companies have recently partnered with automobile manufacturers to achieve this goal.
The first Level 5 vehicles will not be immediately available to consumers. Most companies will introduce them as part of a ride-sharing program. This enables companies to watch the vehicles in the early stages of operation.
Keep an eye out for the 500 million dollar partnership between Ford and Lyft! They should be debuting their autonomous fleet in 2021.
But, once this technology is perfect it will catch on quickly. Americans spend 42 hours a year in traffic — many people will gladly spend extra money to get that time back.
A Driverless Car Reality
America culture has a car obsession. And our obsession comes with a hefty cost — Americans spend over 8,500 a year to own a vehicle.
Driverless cars will save American families thousands of dollars a year. And hours of time wasted in traffic. Now, travel time can be family or leisure time.
Autonomous cars will revolutionize public transportation. Many Americans will forgo car-ownership in favor of driverless car services.
And they reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Electric driverless cars can deliver themselves to charging stations. This makes the transition to electric vehicles easy and convenient.
Driverless cars are also safer. Annually, 1.25 million people die in auto accidents. Driverless cars will reduce accidents by 90%. They will eventually become a safety standard like seatbelts or airbags.
The days of drunk drivers will be long gone! Driverless cars mean that everyone has a designated driver. You can responsibly enjoy a beer or glass of kratom from The Kratom Connection while you travel.
But with all these positive changes comes some upheaval. Let’s take a look at how the driverless car revolution will affect American business.
Industries That Will Change with Driverless Cars
The driverless car revolution will upend many billion dollar industries
Americans spend 164.2 billion dollars on car accidents: repairs, injuries, legal fees. A decline in accidents will put personal injury attorneys and repair garages out of business. And car insurance will be irrelevant since accidents are so rare.
Trucking companies enjoy decreased overhead costs. Unfortunately, 3.5 million truck drivers will be out of work.
Parking lots will decrease as people bypass individual car ownership. And bus drivers and delivery people will lose their jobs to autonomous cars.
Your Driverless Car is Around the Corner!
Self-driving cars are cruising over the horizon. And in the next 20 years, manual cars will be out of style.
Self-driving cars will completely restructure our culture. And many industries will not survive the transition.
But the average person will enjoy more leisure time and a safer commute. And the average family will save thousands a year in car-related costs.
It may be another decade before you can buy your own driverless car. But taxi fleets will driving themselves in the next three or four years.
Check out our other blog posts for the latest news on tech and cars!