How autonomous are Autonomous Vehicles?
Car autonomy and Autonomous Vehicles are one of the hottest – if not the hottest – automotive trends of late.
Many people doubted the feasibility of such a technology, but it is no longer a figment of anyone’s imagination. Self-driving vehicles are real, and they are currently being tested on American roads.
While the concept of traveling alongside driverless cars scares some, it’s going to be the norm sooner than thought. Carsurance.net think that seven in every 10 vehicles will have some sort of self-driving capabilities by 2030 and that 15% of commercially sold vehicles will be 100% autonomous.
If experts are to be believed regarding the pervasiveness of driverless vehicles in the next decade, all of us should celebrate. Self-driving cars can identify optimal routes and are projected to save 250 million hours of annual commuting time. Public safety spending could drop by over $230 billion as autonomous cars are expected to reduce traffic fatalities by 90%.
Furthermore, mother nature would probably approve of driverless vehicles. Since they take the shortest possible routes and are estimated to decrease total fuel consumption by 40%, autonomous vehicles could drive down greenhouse gas emissions by anywhere between 87% and 94% per mile.
But before you imagine a future without driver’s licenses, know that not all autonomous vehicles can operate free from human interference. At least not yet.
There are five levels of car autonomy, and the top category consists of vehicles with limitless self-driving capabilities. One good example is the AV prototype of General Motors Cruise that has no steering wheel.
- Level-1 autonomous cars have control of steering and brakes, but they can only do one task at a time under limited circumstances.
- Level-2 ones can manoeuvre and stop on their own in certain situations.
- Level-3 autonomous vehicles are akin to their level-2 counterparts, except they give the driver more time to take over. Level-4 ones can fully self-drive but only in carefully mapped areas.
The “driverless car” race is on, and tech giants are giving traditional automakers a run for their money. If the advancement of auto innovation continues to progress at its current rate, the next generation might only learn about steering wheels and brake pedals in museums.
To find out more about the advanced auto technologies likely to gain mainstream status in the coming years, check out the infographic below.