Driverless cars continue to be the hottest topic in the automotive industry. While we still have a long ways to go before roads are ruled by self-driving cars, the technology is already making an impact in our lives. Vehicles are already equipped with features such as adaptive cruise control, self-parking, lane recognition, collision detection, blind-spot monitoring, etc. Manufacturers such as Tesla, Ford and many others are racing to bring the first full self-driving car to the public. Cities around the world have begun testing on their streets.
What could the future of roads look like for us and how will it affect our daily lives?
Less congestion, shorter travel times and more space.
With the future of “connected car” technology, vehicles can communicate with each other and their surrounding environment, allowing for better traffic control. With reduced congestion and the ability of the vehicle to identify the most efficient routes, your commute time could be significantly reduced.
More usable space.
Driverless cars will not be required to stay parked in a nearby location after dropping you off. Much of the existing land designated for parking lots can be re-purposed, particularly in crowded cities where space is scarce.
More mobility for the elderly and those with disabilities.
Those who are unable to drive and rely on public transit and/or caretakers could have more freedom and independence with cars that drive themselves.
Reduction in accidents.
Human error is the biggest cause of traffic accidents. Driverless cars use sensors to constantly monitor surroundings and eliminate the common mistakes made by drivers. Eliminating human error would mean a drastic reduction in accidents and fatalities.
Reduced insurance premiums.
The insurance industry as a whole has yet to come to a consensus on how they will respond and establish liability with self-driving related incidents. It is certain, however, that with fewer claims and fewer accidents, auto insurance rates will decrease. Cars with self-driving features already do command lower insurance premiums.
While the technology is available, there are still tremendous regulatory and logistical hurdles to overcome before we realize a future of self-driving cars everywhere. It is likely that there will be many more years ahead of us with semi-autonomous vehicles that still require a driver behind the wheel.
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