In the future drivers are going to be assessed against the driving skills of a computer controlled autonomous car. Are you a better driver than a computer?
Cars of the future will feature multiple sensor and devices to navigate through any traffic maze, terrain or weather conditions safer than humans. Most of the technologies required to support automation are already in service in different forms and have been proven successful. Some examples include side mirror auto detection, radar sensors, active cruise control, and lane departure cameras, software sensors and speed limiting software.
Technological advances, and almost every large car manufacturer is pursuing a version of fully autonomous vehicle. Manufacturers are trying to find their own way of creating autonomy, while mindful of going too far too fast. Toyota, introduced the world’s first self-parking car, ford followed with hands free parking, Google testing fully autonomous driverless cars and trucks, these disruptive technologies are game changers, and is far from being greeted as a game-changing advance, it was mostly criticised for being over-engineered as well as expensive and over ambitious.
The concept of driverless vehicles is even more complicated for high end vehicle manufacturers which sell cars on the basis that people will love the driving experience and handling. To overcome this culture automated vehicle manufacturers will have to put a great deal of its design effort into making hands-free feel like a natural driving experience, or the transition will be costly to manufacturers. The reality is that a lot of driving we do is not fun driving, it is driving to work and from work, driving the kids to sporting events and other daily chores like shopping all in heavy traffic areas.
To meet and influence the change to driverless vehicles, manufacturers will have to develop vehicles initially that should feel if they were driving it ourselves, or like you have a chauffeur is driving and or some sort of do not-disturb back seat type of driving.”
Google is attempting autonomy in city driving, a challenge, and Google wants not only to reinvent the car but to change the whole concept of driving. In some ways it will be a mapping challenge and a cultural shift for buyers and drivers, insurance underwriters and policy makers.
At one time, we would not consider buying an electric vehicle (referring to them as golf carts), as time goes by, we a bombarded with technology changes and multiple disruptive technologies, which assist in changing our buying behaviors, we are being molded for what is to come.
Would you buy a driverless car?
Google, its system, aiming at full autonomy, not only has to take account of traffic but of every eventuality on our nation’s roads. Can technology predict how a cyclist sharing the road will behave, understand the changing topography, cars making illegal lane changes, u-turns, running red lights, pedestrians crossing in unmarked areas, jay walking, open doors into oncoming traffic etc.?
“We want to fundamentally change the world with this,” Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google, likes to say, with the authority of somebody who has already achieved that particular ambition at least once. It’s likely, however, that in this instance, the world will be ready for significant change, people are already talking about it, case in point this article.
Too much revolution alienates their customers. Google’s blank sheet of paper approach betrays the advantages and disadvantages of not having made cars for 100 years already. It remains to be seen if Apple, which is reportedly also building a self-driving car and has been scouting for secure locations in the San Francisco Bay area to test it, will attempt something equally ambitious, but it would be a surprise if it did not. And as such there is a stark divergence between what the tech giants believe is possible with autonomy and what traditional car-makers think can be achieved. Much of this comes down to a schism over understanding how people adopt the new, new thing. Google has, as a core belief, the messianic attitude that human behavior is redeemable by the universal application of its technology.
Should there be age restrictions on autonomous cars?
As a result, Google works on the basis that an all-or-nothing solution is the only solution. And I agree, this is all or nothing. People and their errors need eventually to be removed from making bad choices behind steering wheels. Cars should be another element of our lives that rely on the data.
Google always demonstrated “all in’ approach to innovations and puts its resources in full scale revolution which is the only way of avoiding the kinds of development paralysis that the current prototype experience. If there were only autonomous cars on the road cars would “talk” to each other and make human redundant on the roads. Outcome safer roads? Loss of traffic fine revenues for cities, less accidents, cheaper insurance etc.?
We will always be faced with new technologies. Started with seat belts, then air bags, third brake light, back up sensors and cameras. All of which took selling the idea and benefit to consumers and drivers that these advances were a good thing.
Automated driving will go down a similar path. It will have to be sold based on safety and convenience, less cars on the road, black boxes will be installed in cars similar to airplanes and will assist with lower insurance rates and data to support any contested incidents etc. The transition between driver and driver less vehicles will be a slow and interesting process.
What are your major concerns about driverless cars?
Do you trust regulators will allow this technology to develop in a free market without protecting existing revenue streams and business?
Does this type of technological change mean a culture change for consumers, Regulators and automotive dealers?
Fully automated vehicles and self-diagnosing software, also has the ability to disrupt and kill the existing models of automotive repair shops, that kind of imperative mean a culture change at the car manufacturers. It is estimated that within the next five years we will see the first highly automated vehicles on the road in larger numbers. This means that the driver will be actually able to do something other than monitor the system – read emails, call somebody, check the news, and distracted driving will soon be a thing of the past, yes texting, even drinking while in the car will be permitted once again.
What goes around comes around!
Driving abilities will become a lost art and capability in twenty tears…
Author: Dave Gajadhar, Contrarian, and business simplification advisor
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