The reality of self-driving or semi-autonomous cars is not as far away as some might think. The auto industry is working hard to make this vision come true and when, not if, they are successful, we will have more options for our daily commutes.
Imagine a drive to work in which you drive your car from your home to the on-ramp of a dedicated autonomous vehicle highway at which point the car switches into autonomous mode and your car joins other similar vehicles to become one more "rail car" in a "road train" of vehicles heading down I-405. You sit back and relax in your private car as the autonomous train of vehicles moves toward Seattle where you work. As the "road train" heads west to cross Lake Washington, you casually note that several vehicles in front of you detach, regroup into their own "road train" and continue down I-405 toward Bellevue and parts beyond. Your vehicle joins the ones ahead of you and you continue to Seattle. Once your "road train" passes your exit, your car detaches and exits onto surface streets where you can drive to your final destination. Or to a parking lot where you join another transit system. Things will look more like something out of The Jetsons than from The Wild, Wild West.
Another option is that Über-like vehicles will pick you up from home and run the same trip but in this scenario, you never actually own a vehicle. You pay for a service which hails a car for you whenever you need one. That car takes you door to door, drops you off and then goes to the next customer, always in use, never spending most of its time in parking lots. Cars as a service.
The future is bright indeed!
The following excerpt is from ILMM.CO.UK. Read the whole article here.
With Google and a few other companies developing and already testing out self-driving cars, an inevitable question rises – will we soon stop driving ourselves at all? Some manufacturers are already making progress in adding autonomous features to their vehicles and some, like Google, are going all the way for full automation.
At this speed of development, the industry will go through a lot of changes in the next 10 years. On the positive side, having autonomous cars will lead to safer roads and less accidents. And since traffic accidents account for more than a million deaths in the world in just a year, autonomous driving will definitely make a difference. The other question is whether people would trust technology with their lives. It is one thing to occasionally let the car do the job for you but a whole other when you are not capable of driving yourself and have to be fully dependant on the vehicle.
Few biggest industry players are already putting in some features of autonomous vehicles in their cars, for example, GM is going to launch new vehicles line with traffic autopilot and automatic parking next year, and by 2018 they should have highway autopilot as well. The CEO of Mercedes has also promised to release its first fully autonomous vehicle by 2025. However, Google’s project director doubts that fully autonomous cars will be widely available so soon, it will more likely take up to 30 years for them to become as frequently-seen as normal cars.