Whether it be that morning when you are so tired that all you can think about is falling asleep in the backseat, or that time you could really use your commute time to get some work done, most of us at one point or another have had that thought ‘Wow, I wish this car drove itself.’ If you haven’t, it may be time to start thinking about it because a world filled with autonomous cars could become a reality in a couple of decades. We recently read an article on insurancejournal.com about the advances in self-driving cars and have summarized it below.
Major players like Google, GM, and Nissan have been experimenting with self-driving cars, and as Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said earlier this year, “this is not a Star Wars technology. This is a technology that’s becoming more and more reliable.” While the future of autonomous cars may be closer to a reality than ever before, there are still many issues that need to be resolved before we can expect to see roads filled with driverless cars. Insurers will be responsible for determining fault in the case of self-driving car crashes, license laws will have to be altered, highways will need to accommodate automobiles with drivers as well as those without, and car companies will be responsible for ensuring that the computers in the car can’t be hacked.

A recent report published by Navigant Research suggested that we won’t see a world with the majority of cars being self-driven until at least 2035, and Navigant predicted that the technology will evolve in steps starting with self-parking cars, and moving on to systems aiding drivers in navigating through traffic jams before finally ending with cars that can literally drive themselves down the highway. The company said that “the role of the driver of a vehicle will evolve to be more like that of a pilot in an aircraft” than the traditional role of the driver we have all become accustomed with. While the technology may take some time to migrate from luxury brands to more mainstream cars, some states, including Florida, have already approved street testing of autonomous cars.
Key to developing these self-driving cars are improvements in lane-departure systems, cruise control, and satellite-based navigation systems. While there are still situations where humans can outperform computers on the road, many agree that the benefits could potentially change the way we think about driving forever. Head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, David Strickland, states that since human error is a factor in as many as 90% of traffic fatalities, autonomous cars could potentially save thousands of lives on top of reducing harmful emissions through the reduction of commute time and giving more independence to the disabled and elderly. While we still may have a ways to go, rapid advances in technology are just bringing us closer and closer to the reality of self-driving cars.
What are your thoughts on the future of driving?
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