Even though they’re not on the roads yet, driverless cars are disrupting the automotive industry in unforgettable ways. Keep reading to learn about expected factors related to the evolution of these futuristic vehicles.
1. Market Trends
Automotive analysts say emerging technology is gaining momentum in the automotive market. Top car brands are making their vehicles compatible with popular gadgets and tech-related services, and some people think the Internet of Things (IoT) will also play a role in upcoming models.
Business leader Elon Musk has even announced he plans to earn income by lending extremely safe self-driving cars to interested persons.
2. Potential Reductions in Car Ownership
Musk’s idea doesn’t seem so far-fetched when you consider most of us are accustomed to carpooling at least occasionally. If you’re from a city where the service is available, you may have even used car-sharing companies that allow you to drive a vehicle on an as-needed basis, then drop it off in a pre-determined spot when you’re done.
Once driverless cars become more mainstream, we may increasingly use borrowed vehicles rather than owning cars. That’s especially true because self-driving cars will be too expensive for some people to own.
3. Crash Probability
People are particularly excited that driverless cars may be safer than conventional ones. That hope was confirmed with a recent Virginia Tech study. It indicated severe crashes are less likely to occur with driverless cars than vehicles operated by people.
4. Driverless Car Fuel Usage
According to some estimates, fuel usage will be greatly reduced as people become more dependent on driverless cars. However, the research’s projection was for several decades from now, which caused some people to scoff at the findings.
Even though it’s too early to be certain about fuel percentages driverless vehicles might save, the cars are typically smaller and more streamlined than many of today’s traditional choices. Furthermore, more wires and fewer mechanical parts power them, so the vehicles aren’t as heavy. Together, these factors will likely mean driverless cars won’t be gas guzzlers. Some will probably be all electric as well.
5. Driverless Car Technology
Compared to the cars you’re familiar with, driverless cars won’t have all the same internal components or look identical from the outside. For example, autonomous cars have various sensors and electronic components. All of these delicate parts need protection from the weather and corrosion. Without durable protection, driverless cars won’t be road-ready.
As far as what you see inside, driverless cars may not even have steering wheels. However, like some of today’s vehicles with lane-keeping technology, they will be able to detect lane markings and operate effectively.
6. Different Driving Tests
Many supporters of driverless technology assert it could give newfound freedom to people who cannot drive due to disabilities or are too young to apply for licenses. Although it’s too soon to say how people might be tested to ensure they’re ready to ride in driverless cars, future driving tests might ask people to respond if certain driverless car features don’t work as expected.
7. Traffic Patterns
Driverless technology will likely reduce traffic jams and make commutes smoother. One of the traffic pattern-related suggestions offered by European researchers is to rely on cars’ sensors to keep proper amounts of distance between them and then give each one a “slot” as it approaches an intersection.
By adjusting a vehicle’s speed to account for the slot position, it would mean the car wouldn’t have to stop to accommodate for surrounding traffic.
However, considering that driverless cars will share roads with normal vehicles, forethought will have to be given about construction and road closures. Driverless cars are generally good at spotting obstacles but may need additional guidance when it comes to major traffic pattern alterations.
8. Safety Precautions for Drivers and Pedestrians
Because driverless cars might operate differently than vehicles with drivers behind the wheel, it would be useful for them to have special stickers or license plates that designate them as self-driving cars. Then, other drivers and people who are traveling on foot could have more awareness of them.
9. Security Issues
Security experts say hackers will target driverless cars. Therefore, the associated security risks must be addressed before the vehicles become extremely popular. A cloud-based communications system and a centralized security token linked to actions a car takes are two possible solutions.
While the list above is full of hypothetical situations, driverless cars inspire other to dream of a world where they do exist. The future of driverless cars isn’t a fanciful idea, but part of our everyday lives. The automotive industry is currently planning for the day when these cars become mainstream. Those that don’t adapt to these trends will eventually become history.