Driverless Cars and the Road to the Future (2)

Driverless Cars and the Road to the Future

Did you know that the first true automobile was built in 1885? The invention was called the Benz Patent Motorwagen, and it had three wheels instead of four! Believe it or not, the motor car didn’t even hit the road until 1888, and people weren’t buying cars on their own in the United States until 1898. That means that today’s cars have been around for less than 120 years, which doesn’t seem like very long when you think about how much our society has changed since then. What will happen to cars in another 100 years? Will they be completely electric and autonomous?

Global driverless car market overview

Driverless Cars and the Road to the Future (2)

The global driverless car market is in its infancy, but sales of autonomous vehicles are projected to reach 19.4 million by 2026. The past decade has seen rapid growth in this industry, as interest from both investors and consumers alike reached a fever pitch. The year 2017 saw 1 million driverless cars sold worldwide, with an estimated 250 million traditional passenger cars still roaming the roads. Driverless technology is set to disrupt several industries, including transportation and finance while being at the center of some very important questions surrounding data security, safety regulations, and governmental liability. There is no shortage of predictions on how many jobs will be eliminated or created due to this trend, or when we might expect self-driving vehicles to become commercially available in most areas around the world.

How will autonomous vehicles benefit society?

The future of transportation is not in our hands. Nor, should it be. In a world where automation will eventually take over the task of driving, while simultaneously cutting down on carbon emissions, human error, gas prices, traffic accidents, and road congestion. Furthermore, driverless cars could revolutionize how we use roads today—they could even eliminate the need for parking garages in cities.

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How are companies responding to autonomous vehicle technologies?

Companies are taking different approaches as driverless cars begin to make inroads into our day-to-day lives. One of the most notable examples is Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz, which unveiled its first driverless vehicle for an urban environment, during last week’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. There are a number of issues that need to be addressed before autonomous vehicles can become commonplace on roads across America. Perhaps the most pressing is ensuring proper regulations exist for such vehicles that have been explicitly approved by lawmakers for use on public streets.

Who are the current leaders in the autonomous vehicle industry?

Ford has been working on autonomous vehicles for a while now, with their research arm, Ford Motor Research Institute, teaming up with other institutions of higher learning to put new self-driving cars on the road. In 2016, they started an 18-month pilot program in Washington DC. It’s been a while since we’ve heard from them. But just last week Ford announced that it plans to release its first commercial vehicle without a steering wheel or pedals in 2021, which could mean a release date sometime in 2020.

The future of driverless cars

Driverless Cars and the Road to the Future (2)

Every day we hear about advances in driverless cars that are taking us closer to the self-driving future. While we don’t know exactly what this new world will look like, we do know a few of the changes: We may need less space on highways, roadways, and parking lots. Nearly all trips by car will be local rather than intercity. And traffic is going to get a lot better.

The public discourse around these changes is less optimistic – with concerns over the safety of pedestrians and bikers, job loss for truck drivers or taxi drivers, and cheaper transit costs as fuel prices rise – but it’s hard not to imagine this future in good terms: More people will have access to transportation without having to own a car or even know how to drive.

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