A car that drives itself, is a car that could change the future of driving. But aren’t these cars still just material for a science fiction book? Not anymore! In fact, some self-driving cars are available now. You may have heard about some of the features that make cars more autonomous such as parallel self-parking. However, the word self-driving might make you think fully-autonomous, and that is only one definition of self-driving, but there is another definition…
Two Types of Self-Driving Cars
Believe it or not, there are currently two kinds of self-driving cars: semi-autonomous cars and fully autonomous cars. Fully autonomous cars break, accelerate, and steer without the passenger inside having to do any work. Semi-autonomous cars are cars that do some of the work for you. Technologies that these types of cars feature include “Pilot Assist,” which you can find in certain Volvo cars and that help the driver maintain a safe distance from the next car while driving on a highway (Source).
When Will They be Available for Purchase?
There’s a new article every week about the release of self-driving cars, and most of them indicate they will be released soon. According to “Driverless Car Market Watch” we should see driverless cars on the road sometime between next year and 2020 (Source). Regardless of when exactly they will be available, it’s possible that there may not be a dramatic change from the semi-autonomous cars we see now and the fully-autonomous line of cars that will be built in the near future. They might simply keep adding technology until one day all cars will have all of the technologies that make a car driverless.
Will I Feel Safe in a Self-driving Car?
The Department of Transportation is responsible for regulating driverless cars and they intend to discover and determine what technologies these cars will be using. They will then share that information with government officials in order to control competition and prevent monopolies. Most importantly, they will analyze whether a technology is safe before a company can deploy it (Source).
Will car companies feel overregulated?
They might, but the intention of the Department of Transportation is not to stifle creativity or make companies smaller, but to allow producers to achieve ideal safety features while preserving their creativity. The regulations seem reasonable from an individual consumer perspective, but car manufacturers might still take issue with the regulations being too restrictive of their creativity and may protest the oversight.
How much will it cost?
Although there are no current price estimates of fully-autonomous cars because they are not yet available to be purchased, some believe that the cost of the software required to make a car more autonomous will put the cost out of the reach of working and middle-class people. The average American can afford to spend $20,806 on a car, whereas the starting price, without options, of one of the featured, less expensive driverless cars, the Toyota Prius, is around $24,000 (Source)
The Bottom Line
Driverless cars will mean safe, stress-free driving, and although the cost will probably be high at the outset, as with any product in a competitive market, the price, as consumers buy more of them and as time passes, will go down. Fully autonomous self-driving cars may mean the end of car accidents and the end of traffic jams on highways and throughways, and may end the arresting of drivers under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Car crime will be lower, and cops will probably make fewer driving arrests. IdeaEngineUSA supports driverless cars because they benefit manufacturing and because they will push the boundaries of the human capacity for change and growth.