Everybody seems to be jumping on the self-driving cars bandwagon; from tech giants like Google to automobile stalwarts like Audi and Toyota; every other company is promising the wave of the future in the motor vehicle industry – a car that will be able to drive itself with little or no human intervention.
So, how far are we really from these futuristic automobiles?
If Toyota is to be believed, semi-autonomous vehicles will be seen on the road only after 2017 while their fully automatic counterparts will not grace the streets till 2025. While most are tickled pink about this Hollywood depiction of the future coming to life in front of them, there are several other benefits predicted to self-driving cars. For one, they will significantly lower the number of accidents; also, these vehicles will be more fuel efficient and will produce less pollution. In fact, automobile pollution could go down by a whopping 56% with automatic cars.
When they are introduced to the market, they are also expected to lower the number of vehicle thefts and make things safer for other drivers and pedestrians as the computers in the car will take input from other vehicles in the vicinity as well as stop signs etc.
What will these cars of the future look like?
Automation of vehicles will make a lot of traditional vehicular input devices redundant like the gas and brake pedals and even the steering wheel. Although we started our transition towards automatic vehicles several decades ago with the introduction of automatic shift vehicles, these fully automatic, new age cars will look startlingly different.
In fact, many makers may even introduce an auditory communication interface in the vehicle through which the owner can interact with the computer that controls the car. Other inclusions will be sensors, light detention and ranging, infra-red cameras, collision prevention systems and even radars.
However, not everybody is excited about the introduction of these futuristic vehicles as many believe that it will just worsen on road congestion and the pollution produced by these self-driving cars in the process.
Picture by Michael Shake – Fotolia