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Driverless Cars: Are We Ready to Trust Self-Drive Cars?

by | Mar 24, 2022 | Industry




Imagine getting into your car, entering your destination by tying or voice command, then the car drives you to your destination while you are sitting and doing useless things or nothing. Self-driving cars are coming and they’re going to change what it’s like to get from point A to point B.

Driverless cars are still in their infancy but are certainly generating a lot of interest. A lot of car companies and several startups have autonomous vehicle projects in their strategy.

And most companies building autonomous vehicles envision a future where all vehicles can handle all the driving on their own, without any human intervention. While it is still the start of the era of self-driving cars, the autonomous vehicles market is showing a lot of potential for of future.

Self-driving car

In a self-driving car, like its name suggests, there is no driver. The technology creates a map of its surroundings and recognizes traffic lights, road signs and pedestrians. The onboard computer then plots its path and sends instructions to actuators that control its driving functions.

Autonomous vehicles use various technologies for perception. Light-emitting radar is used to track other vehicles and pedestrians for up to 30 feet. Laser lights are used to detect traffic lights and road signs. Cameras provide streams of images of the surrounding area.

High-speed internet connections ensure the security of self-driving vehicles. All of these technologies will be used in autonomous vehicles. It will be able to recognize both static and moving objects.

Self-driving cars promise the convenience and safety of drivers in the future. Some estimate that by 2050 almost all vehicles will be autonomous and by 2035 it is about 10% will be self-drive. While these types of vehicles are a few years away from full implementation, there are many benefits to this technology.

The development of these vehicles will increase the level of safety. These cars will be able to drive safely in many different situations. They will be able to anticipate environmental changes and react appropriately to them. Here’s a fact, fully driverless cars could eliminate the issue of drunk driving.

They will also be useful in preventing accidents and providing a convenient delivery service. The advancement of this technology will be accompanied by safety concerns.

It is estimated that 94% of serious crashes are caused by human error which can be attributed to distraction, impaired judgment or poor decision-making. Hence, distracted driving accidents due to phone use could be eliminated with driverless cars.

With the help of driver assistance systems, these cars are now able to make decisions on their own and communicate with other vehicles, thus eliminating human errors.

Impacts of driverless cars

The first major effect of driverless cars is the potential reduction in traffic accidents. If all autonomous vehicles drive themselves, there is no need to have a driver. Instead, drivers can focus on the road and other tasks.

It is estimated that self-driving cars are more road conscious and drive smoother resulting in less braking and accelerating and therefore less gridlock on highways.

As the world transitions to autonomous cars, passenger productivity will increase. People will be able to engage in other activities while traveling, such as communicating with other passengers, watching movies or working.

Autonomous vehicles can also increase mobility for elderly people. They may even be able to remain active and social in their homes without the help of a caretaker. Additionally, the introduction of driverless vehicles could impact the childcare industry.

Using an autonomous vehicle to drop off or pick up children from daycares or schools may be a major asset to families. And since driverless vehicles reduce the number of accidents, they will also reduce congestion. The technology may also improve public safety.

Despite the potential advantages, there are also some downsize. While the technology is not dangerous in itself, it is important to consider the potential risks of a driverless vehicle. One of the major disadvantages of driverless cars is that they are not foolproof.

If all self-driving cars are deployed, public safety should be the number one priority. In many cases, it can fail to recognize pedestrians and vehicles, creating a dangerous situation for pedestrians.

self driving car
Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

The autonomous car will not be able to make quick decisions and may be prone to sidestepping or causing accidents. There is no guarantee that autonomous vehicles will not crash and it is impossible to know if they will ever crash.  

Another issue is that road conditions vary from place to place. Some roads have smooth surfaces and broad highways, while others have little lane markings and potholes. Additionally, there are mountainous terrains and tunnels. The driverless car should be able to operate on all types of roads. If it cannot, it may not be safe.

Another issue that has been affecting the development of autonomous cars is the fact that human drivers have always acknowledged pedestrians and cyclists. A self-driving vehicle may not do this, which could confuse pedestrians and cyclists.

While the technology is still in its early stages, the ethics of these vehicles remain a major concern. Driverless cars raise privacy and security issues. It’s not clear what information will be stored, analyse or shared with other vehicles.

These concerns may affect the safety of autonomous vehicles, especially in cities. If safety and security issues are not resolved, the technology may lead to accidents or even be hacked. However, these problems are not insurmountable. As technology improves, these concerns will likely be addressed.

Future of self-driving cars

The driverless cars of the future have a lot of challenges. Object detection is a major challenge but understanding a problem is even harder. For instance, a human driver would be able to tell a pedestrian’s intention. But an AI-driven car might not be able to make that distinction.

There are also many other challenges in driving that autonomous cars must overcome. The biggest challenge is the perception system. It uses lasers, radar and sensors to measure distance and camera sensors help to identify objects. But the technology for autonomous vehicles is more complex.

The sensors can detect the speed of moving objects. Although autonomous cars are equipped with cameras and sensors, they may not respond the same in the rain,  dark or fog. Instead, they rely on sensors to determine what is ahead. But what if the sensor is defective or has a sudden issue.

The biggest challenge in the development of driverless cars is ensuring their reliability. The problem is that we don’t fully trust machines to perform at a human level. One example is that some people will modify their vehicles to improve performance. This may interfere with the computer’s decision-making capabilities since oversized wheels and tires will distort the sense of speed.

Driverless cars will have to navigate all types of environments. The first step is to create proper roads and environments. This process can be self-regulated but there are always unforeseen situations and obstacles that could arise.

Further, autonomous vehicles need to ensure that they don’t hit pedestrians, even if they’re on railroad tracks. Also, privacy and security issues must be addressed. For example, most people are concerned about how their data will be stored and how they can protect themselves.

However, as with any technological development, there are risks and challenges. Driverless cars can reduce pollution, traffic congestion, reduce human errors and drunk driving, and the cost of getting around. However, they are still years away.

It takes many decades to develop software that can control self-driving vehicles which would require fail-proof and ultra-precise maps. While driverless cars show some positive implications, it’s still too early to make predictions.