As tech innovations continue to develop at an incredible pace, devices that once seemed outrageous even for sci-fi aficionados are now a part of daily life. For the past few years, there has been increasing buzz surrounding the concept of autonomous vehicles. Google, one of the main players in this techy transit space, has conducted numerous driverless vehicle tests with promising results. Despite the “cool factor” that surrounds autonomous vehicles however, there are a number of financial, legal, and social factors that tech companies must address before these cars hit the market and everything changes.
Learn more about the impact self-driving vehicles will have on the future from these thoughtful industry experts:
Automobile Expo Conference Director
Connected Car Expo
“In ten years, the autonomous ‘revolution’ will have become so natural and so pervasive that we’ll easily forget that there were once cars that couldn’t drive themselves.”
If you only read mass media headlines, you would be excused for thinking that autonomous vehicles will one day suddenly pop out of nowhere. Rather, self-driving cars are already coming in a steady introduction of ever-increasing capability. We are today experiencing a progressive evolution of the car’s ability to take over our driving tasks, from adaptive cruise control, through parallel-park assist, to highway autopilot. We’ll still be able to keep the fun of driving for ourselves when we want it, but we’ll quickly and gratefully acquiesce mindlessly boring commutes to the car. In ten years, the autonomous “revolution” will have become so natural and so pervasive that we’ll easily forget that there were once cars that couldn’t drive themselves.
“There will always be those who will want their hands on the wheel.”
Younger drivers could spur interest in self-driving cars.
With that being said, there is a trend among younger drivers who are waiting longer to get their driver’s licenses. Many teenagers are not making the 16th birthday driver’s license the rite of passage it once was. These social media connected teens and young adults are more focused on being in constant contact with their network, and spending time behind the wheel is not as appealing as spending time on their smart phone or tablet. Recent national news reported a study by the insurance industry regarding the very high percentage of accidents involving teens that were distracted by their smart phones while driving.
Will the self-driving car totally take over? Probably not unless it is regulated and mandated. However, current recruitment trends and young driver interests could point to a growing market segment, much like electrical and hybrid cars. Yet, there will always be those who will want their hands on the wheel. The challenge then, will be integrating the self-driving car onto the road with the human-driven car.
Director of Products
“Imagine a world devoid of crashes caused by careless drivers…”
A future where self-driving cars dominate the roads is intriguing and even a bit exciting. The potential to eliminate (in part or even in full) the possibility of automobile accidents would have a huge impact on our economy and the quality of life we experience. Imagine a world devoid of crashes caused by careless drivers diverted by any number of distractions be they self-inflicted or otherwise. Imagine a world where the elderly are no longer prevented from traveling independently due to their age. Or, a world where the disabled are not restricted in their independence by their physical limitations. And stress levels would collectively subside as workers with long commutes could spend that time relaxing instead of being under the constant pressure of being behind the wheel. That kind of a future ushered by automated cars is one we can all embrace.
Car Tech and Transportation Specialist
“Safety and privacy concerns…are the biggest challenges for autonomous cars.”
Judging by what almost all major car makers claim, self-driving cars are going to become the norm sometime in the near future. According to Navigant Research, the prominent research and advisory company, driverless vehicles will account for 75% of all vehicles sold by 2035, and Lux Research predicts that the autonomous car market will be worth $87 billion by 2030.
It will take about 20-25 years to replace all conventional cars with autonomous vehicles, but before this can occur, automakers and authorities
will have to address a few issues to convince the general public that self-driving cars are a secure and safe alternative to human-driven ones.
Safety and privacy concerns, as well as potential legal and regulatory issues, are the biggest challenges for autonomous cars. A new Harris poll
shows that Americans are split over whether they are ready to accept vehicles that can drive themselves. A total of 2,276 adults were surveyed,
with 48% of them saying that they believe self-driving cars will be safe, and 52% believing that they will be dangerous.
Director of Graduate Programs in Logistics and Transportation
Florida Coastal School of Law
“The dream of the elderly being able to make long trips without touching the wheel will continue to be out of reach for [quite some time].”
People’s hopes and fears about AV are both somewhat exaggerated. Their fears that they will be unsafe are overblown. In truth they will be lighter, faster, and safer than existing vehicles. Because they will be lighter they will be more efficient, take up less space on roadways, and will cut down on traffic and congestion.
However, the first and last mile problems will, I’m afraid, be insurmountable until vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) and vehicle to vehicle (V2V) connections are widespread—something that will demand substantial amounts of public spending of dollars that governments don’t have. That means that the dream of the elderly being able to make long trips without touching the wheel will continue to be out of reach for people like me who are approaching 60.
Director, High-Technology MBA and Innovation Masters and Professor
“Within 5 years most large manufacturers will offer some sort of driverless operation.”
Currently, cars from multiple manufacturers, from Infinity to Ford, offer options that offer driver assistance, from panic stops to parallel parking. By 2017 vehicles from Cadillac and others will offer hands-off self-driving options for highway cruising. What this means is that we are very close to offering he ability for cars to operate without driver input for extended periods of time. The sensors are there, the communication protocols are developed. It’s safe to say the technically within 5 years most large manufacturers will offer some sort of driverless operation.
So what are the obstacles? The first is security. While vehicles and the code that operates them are extremely robust, when you add vehicle-to-vehicle communication, GPS, and other wireless interaction (wireless Internet, etc.), combined with direct access to throttle and steering – security from hacking and other sources is paramount.
The second is legal. While several states such as Nevada and California have laws that allow driverless vehicles, will others follow? I can assume some states will be more progressive in their adoption of driverless cars, and others less so. This will certainly influence adoption rate.
The third is concerned with people themselves. There are many enthusiastic early adopters, but I suspect that many will be fearful or skeptical over turning over the wheel to sensors and code. Even if the fear is unfounded, this may affect adoption rate.
Global Advisor, Keynote Speaker & Ex-Race Car Driver
“The current vision for the self driving car is a total let-down — boring!”
I love the idea of the Self-Driving Car for the “other person.” The driver who is a distracted while talking on their phone, yelling at their kids, or thinking about everything EXCEPT driving, and is an accident waiting to happen. Maybe, when I want to take a private car to my destination, I will take my self-chauffeured tech-box vehicle to “point B”. But in my geeky heart-of-hearts, I really enjoy the freedom, the thrill, the control, and the work involved with driving on the open road. It is a challenge and fun to drive well, requiring 100% concentration. Imagine how many drivers are really paying 100% of their time behind the wheel concentrating on driving…my contention is…not many.
We were promised flying cars by now! That would be exciting…but undoubtedly, much more dangerous.
To me, the current vision for the self driving car is a total let-down, boring, like riding the subway. Of course, we have the original super information highway in place, the National Highway System, that was a key factor that built the USA to the powerhouse it is today. To properly utilize this system of interstate highways and byways, it will require a more automated network of connected vehicles and roads. Limiting accidents caused by poor and distracted drivers, anticipating flow and adjusting the signals, speeds and access accordingly, and much better management of traffic flow and reducing congestion…but PLEASE leave a small space for my Porsche and my Triumph Bonneville motorcycle to glide through.
I’m a proud motorized-geek.
CEO and Co-founder
“The price will have to come down as well before you see any major shift to self-driving cars.”
I predict that self-driving cars will eventually catch on, but for now, they won’t have much of an impact on the consumer market. According to a recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive, 52% thought self-driving cars present a danger to the driver, and 57% said they’d be dangerous to other drivers on the road. One third said they would never consider buying one. The price will have to come down as well before you see any major shift to self-driving cars. I’m not sure how much Google’s version of a self driving car will cost once it hits the market sometime around 2020, but I read where it’s expected to come with a $75,000 price tag.
Supply Chain Expert
“Two thirds of survey respondents report they would feel less safe sharing the road with driverless semi-trucks.”
We recently conducted a study on the public sentiment towards driverless semi-trucks, which revealed the following findings:
– Over 66% of survey respondents said they would feel less safe sharing
the road with driverless semi-trucks.
– Women were more likely than men to think that vehicles piloted by
driverless technology would be less safe than vehicles operated by human
– The majority of respondents would be uncomfortable with driverless
semi-trucks, even if it meant cheaper consumer products or reduced carbon
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