A Look into the Possibilities and Limitations of Autonomous Vehicles
Cars and trucks are made with more high-tech features than ever. Thus boasting autonomous capabilities that were unthinkable not long ago. You might think that self-driving cars seem like a distant sci-fi dream, but technology is improving fast! What are the possibilities, concerns, and obstacles that arise when we consider the question, are we ready for autonomous driving?
Autonomous Features Are Already Here
We wouldn’t be the largest independent truck dealer on the west coast if we didn’t love to drive! Sure, the thought of self-driving cars can seem unsettling. But, to a great extent, many cars and trucks already have autonomous features.
Many modern vehicles can take the wheel for you and parallel park in a tight space. Others have technology that alerts you when you’re drifting out of your lane, and may even jerk you back into place. Other features help you avoid collisions, brake automatically, or prevent your vehicle from exceeding a preset speed when a young driver is behind the wheel.
While lots of people are concerned about autonomous vehicles, consumers are largely responding to advances in that direction. In fact, a study by Autotrader found that 70% of consumers want vehicles with autonomous features. Every effort to build safer vehicles is another small step toward autonomous driving.
How Does Autonomous Driving Work?
Autonomous driving is a greater extension of the features we’ve talked about. It all comes down to cameras and sensors, and how they react to the information that they’re processing. These sensors need to capture as much information as possible, tracking everything in the vehicle’s vicinity to react accordingly.
That’s the simplest way to put it, but the engineering to make it happen is incredibly complicated. Driving a vehicle is a complex series of actions. No matter how experienced someone is behind the wheel. You are always reacting to your surroundings, sometimes making split-second decisions that can be a matter of life and death.
Possible Benefits of Autonomous Driving
So, why have auto manufacturers been working for decades on autonomous cars? There are many possible benefits to a world with self-driving cars. Think about the people in your life with disabilities that prevent them from driving. Or about the elderly, who are no longer fit to drive. Autonomous driving gives them the mobility that improves their quality of life.
The development of this technology centers around the question of safety. Autonomous driving may offer a world with fewer accidents. It also has the potential to offer more environmentally friendly vehicles, more efficient traffic patterns, and more free time for everyone. The time spent commuting would be available for other activities, which has both a social and economic benefit.
Concerns and Limitations of Autonomous Driving
Safety is the number one concern, as it should be. The split-second decision making needs to be as reliable as possible. Self-driving cars are projected to be safer than human drivers. But a number of incidents bring that projection into question.
There are also logistical obstacles. The United States would need some serious changes to infrastructure, legislation, insurance policies, and many other areas of daily life. Take a peek at this article for a deep dive.
Are We Ready?
Autonomous driving is already here, but many of us aren’t ready to give up the wheel just yet. Between public sentiment and limited infrastructure, we’re a long way from seeing fleets of autonomous cars on the roadways. All we’re saying is, don’t be surprised when Grandma shows up to the family function in a self-driven Lyft!
In the meantime, you’ve got plenty of opportunities to experience the joy of driving yourself. If you’re looking to change up your ride, why not start with us?