According to manufacturers; vehicle will be equipped with sensors for navigation and to avoid collisions. By mid-2017, a total of 100 fully autonomous vehicles are expected be functional and will be seen in action along with pedestrians. The self-drive cars initiative was announced in the chancellor’s National Infrastructure Plan. Much hype of autonomous cars revolves around Google since its self-drive car recently completed 500,000 miles (804,000km) of road tests. Legislation have already been passed in the US, California, Nevada and Florida to allow driverless cars making the vehicles commercial.
Nissan announced plans, earlier this year of having driverless cars in the hands of the public by 2020. The company also carried out the first public road test of a driverless vehicle on a Japanese highway. The advancement in autonomous technology leads us to predict a future when we may not own cars at all but simply summon one to fulfill all our transportation needs. Brad Templeton, software engineer and adviser to Google on its self-drive car project, terms it as “mobility on demand” since this vehicle provides you with immediate and highly convenient transportation facility, requiring you to only say where you want to go on your mobile phone.
He further said that with these cars commercialized, people wouldn’t have to worry about recharging, parking or refueling. That will be the car’s job. Not only will these cars not need people for attention and maintenance but they will also make cities both safer and greener. The energy consumption, the congested streets and all the hassle can be avoided, besides all the cleared up space taken up by parking lots. Our roads will change radically.
The biggest advantage that the manufacturers have been highlighting ever since these cars were presented before the public is that these vehicles are much safer and will contribute tremendously in avoiding car accidents. We know for a fact that about 1.2 million people are killed each year in car accidents so the idea of a safer means of transport is more than just appealing. Many argue about who will be liable in the event of accidents and that this issue will be a great barrier in the way of the development of autonomous vehicles. Mr. Templeton retaliates that only the barristers will find it the most interesting question. For him, the more interesting question would be whether a machine is more liable than a drunk driver. He further added that countries that decide a machine is more liable will hamper the development of this technology.