Autonomous vehicles are among the hottest topics in the tech world right now. Driving is a tiring activity, which could sometimes be extremely dangerous as well. Studies show that traveling by car is among the least safe means of transport.
That’s why manufacturers have been continuously working on improving cars’ safety. In fact, autonomous vehicles could be key to safer roadways, once they overcome the challenges they currently face. Cars can use advanced tech to avoid any accidents by themselves.
2019 is an exciting year of launches in the automotive industry. Waymo is now ready to offer autonomous taxi services in Phoenix and many leading brands are set to present their autonomous vehicles as well. Furthermore, the arrival of such vehicles provides a perfect opportunity for an integral transformation in urban mobility and could even lead to creating more accountable, healthy and greener cities.
With that said autonomous vehicles have a number of advantages and are set to be revolutionary to the way, we live in general. This made us list a few trends in autonomous driving vehicles that are going to help them overcome difficulties and drive the global market sooner.
For autonomous purpose-built vehicles to be street legal a number of regulations have to change beyond allowing vehicles to be built without a steering wheel. As you probably know this takes time. However, the beginning of the process could be an indicator of what commercial interests are planning.
Manufacturers can be issuing petitions and making the case for their particular engineered solution. Shifts in bills such as AV Start and the guidelines coming from the US Department of Transportation could provide even more clues. Not only in the United States, but regulations are also changing all around the world. In fact, there are currently at least 47 cities around the world that are piloting self-driving cars.
Regulations in all places will need to be changed to accommodate the manufacturing and operations of autonomous purpose-built vehicles. As they are slowly evolving from driver-assisted systems to fully self-driving ones, guidelines are being updated to address potential remote operations, as well as licensing and permit changes.
The EU, China, and Canada, for instance, are passing legislation and working on frameworks to move beyond allowing AV pilots in constrained areas. These guidelines consist of rules around occupancy requirements, reporting requirements, electrification and considerations for land use and transit planning.
Another thing that needs to be revamped is insurance rules. They need to move from pilot to commercialization. Simply said in order to progress autonomous vehicles need to be legalized everywhere first. 2019 is set to be a pivotal year from regulations and legislation.
The novelty of autonomous technology is going to change our legal and social relationships to transport. Without a driver behind the wheel, autonomous vehicles raise a number of questions about responsibility and liability for road behavior. If an autonomous vehicle were responsible for a fatal crash, for example, it is unclear how the legal system would assign negligence.
There are lots of things that authorities would have to consider, but with the start of using these vehicles everything will be clear and any changes could be made effectively.
Building an innovative vehicle is an expensive process. It requires huge investments. That’s why many companies are looking for ways to minimize any risks by partnering with others. In 2019 we should see more collaborations and partnerships in the automotive sphere.
Startups usually struggle to raise funds. Furthermore, the number of such companies is rather big and the market can’t sustain most of them. Only the ones that have most to offer and have true potential would be able to find a company to collaborate with.
The choice between creating a highly integrated in-house solution will be weighed against the more traditional strategy of integrating multiple tier-one suppliers. Way more collaborations and consolidations are expected in 2019. There are even rumors that Ford and Volkswagen will join forces in creating an autonomous vehicle, so watch out for your favorite brands as they might collaborate to build the car of your dreams.
Improved Autonomous Vehicles
Today we’re quite used to seeing autonomous vehicles that are SUVs, golf carts or all-terrain vehicles. However, with technological improvement, those of the near future will be specially designed for a particular segment.
Considering the state of development of autonomous vehicles, it’s most likely that the first on the road will be owned by service providers operating a fleet in urban or suburban areas. After the vehicles created to transport goods start doing their job, the ones transporting people will be on their way. They’ll probably look like traditional taxis, but way more efficient.
These improved autonomous vehicles will be electric and fully wirelessly connected. This allows over-the-air software updated, as well as monitoring for safety and notifications. After all this, the next step would be to integrate these vehicles with municipal infrastructure. That way they’ll report on traffic conditions, speed of travel, number of stops and number of passengers, which makes them a part of connected roadways.
Autonomous taxi services are widely expected as one of the first steps to self-driving cars. At this point, we can’t tell if they’ll be cheaper or more expensive, but they’ll be safer for sure. They will launch in a market full of competitors, so this would be a great test for the improved autonomous vehicles of the future.
Self-Driving Cars Are Closer Than You Think
Most important for the long-term success of autonomous driving is the many miles of testing in the real world. However, as we mentioned more countries are working on legal and regulatory frameworks that both support progress in the area of autonomous cars and consider safeguards for their testing on public roads.
Nevertheless, according to Gartner, 55% of people wouldn’t feel comfortable riding in a fully autonomous vehicle. Manufacturers still have a long way to go if they want higher societal acceptance.
These were three of the autonomous driving vehicle trends of this year. Sooner or later, self-driving cars will become a part of our lives, due to the convenience they offer. Once they overcome the challenges they face today, that make them untrustworthy, autonomous vehicles will become the future of the automotive industry.