The future of the transportation industry is definitely self-driving vehicles. As the number of autonomous vehicles on the road increases every year, this remarkable innovation is already igniting debate in several circles.
The age when we will no longer need to glue our eyes on the road but pay more attention to checking updates from social media platforms is quickly becoming a reality.
Automated vehicle driving technology will soon cause a major transportation disruption in our world.
But, are we ready for this next big thing in transportation?
The growth of driverless vehicles
The adoption of semi-autonomous and fully autonomous vehicles is increasing at unbelievable levels.
According to McKinsey & Co., the use of automation in vehicles could reduce 90% of all vehicle accidents in the U.S. and save billions of dollars in health costs.
Nearly all of the traditional automotive companies are planning to launch these amazing driverless machines.
For example, General Motors plans to start commercially producing its fleet of driverless cars, which do not have steering wheels or pedals, in 2019.
Waymo, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company, has been perfecting its self-driving car technology since 2009.
As of June 2018, the company had completed more than 7 million self-driven miles on public roads. Before the end of the year, Waymo plans to allow people to use its self-driven cars.
Another company, Tesla Motors, is already manufacturing futuristic cars with full self-driving capability, as they claim. Therefore, the race to make this exciting technology mainstream is unprecedented.
By 2025, it is estimated that the global self-driving market will be worth about US$36 billion.
According to an independent research company, RethinkX, by 2030, 95% of U.S. car miles will be travelled using autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles, and other innovative vehicles.
Concerns about autonomous vehicles
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) together with the World Economic Forum (WEF) carried out a study among more than 5,500 consumers in 27 cities across the world.
The study found out that 58% of respondents are likely to take a ride in a self-driving car with full self-driven capability while 69% are willing to take a ride in a semi-automated vehicle.
However, the study revealed that the top concern of consumers is the safety of the vehicles. 50% of the respondents said that they do not feel safe in the driverless cars.
Another issue that may reduce acceptance of self-driving cars is culture. Most people are used to sitting in a vehicle with a driver, and it will seem odd if a car doesn’t have a driver.
In the study, 45% of the respondents said that they like being in control of the car always—and not leaving everything in the hands of algorithms.
Several people have also expressed concerns about the possibility of self-driving car data getting hacked.
If the data is compromised, it could lead to security breaches, which could be disastrous. However, with sufficient security practices, the self-driving cars can be made difficult to hack.
The BCG study found out that 23% of respondents were concerned about the possibility of the car getting hacked.
Are we prepared?
Self-driving cars promise to be the next big thing in transportation since the invention of automobiles. This technology is receiving widespread adoption quickly in most places around the world.
However, before we can realise the optimal benefits, its various challenges need to be addressed.
For example, we need enactment of reliable and sound regulation that will ensure the correct and ethical implementation of the automated driving technology.
Also, the safety and fail-proofness of the driverless cars should be improved.
So, before we are ready for a full-blown driverless future, these uncertain roads should be cleared to restore the confidence of consumers in the kinks of this exciting technology.
Although the self-driving car technology has not hit the streets fully—and we are also not completely prepared for it—but it won’t be long.
We can expect to experience a roller coaster ride, until we kick out the driver from the seat—completely.
Until then, we are still getting ready.
Or, do you think we are ready for automation technology in vehicles?
Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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