Drivers are still needed for cars…..at least for the next 10 years or so before the autonomous car becomes completely reliable.
In recent years a number of car manufacturers have been working with technology giants to bring self –driving cars to the market. China and America seems to be leading the race but we honestly feel that China will be the first as they already have autonomous car villages running in some parts of China and their funding seems to be running deep enough for them to continue this progress.
Today, even with Covid19 lingering around the globe and claiming lives, these autonomous ‘players’ are claiming they are not so far as to allow vehicles to function completely independently in traffic.
In test environments, their cars may drive themselves. But autonomous driving is certainly not for small country roads, in highway construction sites or other everyday traffic situations.
Investigations on the autonomous car from Uber which killed a cyclist in Arizona some time ago cconfirmed that it was not the computer driven car that was to blame for the accident, but the woman driver. Investigators say that a video shows how she steps out of the shadows directly in front of the car which is too short for a full braking. Lets just say that if the person killed was a loved one of the investigators, we are sure their tune will change to blame the technology.
It would seem that Uber has financial muscle to make sure they are not to blame and it is the blame of the victim.
Tech giants, Google and Apple have been working to override the car industry with their proposed autonomous vehicles. Not much has happened so far. The efforts to build their own self drive cars have slowly been forgotten and somewhat written off. Instead, they should keep focusing on what they do best. Collect data, sort and use it to derive algorithms, deliver software and keep making millions for the investors and partners.
Meanwhile ride hailing companies, Uber, Waymo, Lyft and we are sure very soon to join the foray, Grab wants to revolutionize passenger transportation by making it cheaper. They one way is to go autonomous. This is because the driver always represents the most expensive factor in the ride-hailing/taxi business.
The current technology of using radar sensors, scanners, cameras and simple lasers on self driving cars is inadequate. The mapping system system of the streets also need to be pin point accurate and any changes need to be updated instantly.
So, technology is the first big issue, the next is the street data and finally you have the surrounding movements from smaller vehicles/cyclists/pedestrians/animals. Full autonomy needs more time and tests and manufacturers should instead spend their research and development on recycling materials, engines, batteries, etc to reduce our junkyards and waste lands.