Are you keeping up with all the latest about self-driving cars? The concept is revolutionary—that much everyone can agree. But after years of development, we have yet to see a viable product that can be offered to the masses. That’s the ultimate goal, right? Otherwise, all these resources are wasted on a technology that may never come to fruition. While news about the advancements in autonomous vehicle technology is making rounds on the web, so no news about people getting injured or even killed by driverless cars.
The Debate on Safety
Tens of thousands of people die on the roads each year, and a huge chunk of these accidents are caused by human error. No matter how strict traffic rules are, people seem bound to break down at one point or another. This is one of the biggest reasons why developers push for self-driving cars. A vehicle that eliminates human error is supposed to reduce the number of road accidents, but so far, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Clearly, there’s still a long way to go before self-driving cars can safely hit the roads. Some go as far as saying that these cars will never be safe. After all, the idea of crossing the streets knowing that all the cars around you are operated by computers can be scary. Still, the public remains excited about autonomous vehicles. The young generation is particularly interested, although budget constraints may limit millennials to used cars. They can be a life-changer, but just how close are we to a world where we wouldn’t have to drive anymore?
On the flip side of the coin, many drivers feel uncertain about making the switch to driverless cars, especially in its infancy stages. Even if society becomes fully prepared for them, the public needs a reason to abandon their traditional cars. Will new laws be imposed to banish old vehicles from the road? What about the cost to potential users and the maintenance of the vehicles? Traditional cars may be costly with depreciation, repairs, and other associated expenses. But over the years, they’ve proven to be reliable and even cost-effective, with online platforms such as 247Spares offering a convenient place from which drivers can purchase the car parts they need. Will something similar be available for users of self-driving cars?
Endless Software Updates
Manufacturers of autonomous vehicles explain that these cars are similar to smartphones in a way that they need constant updates. Continuous software development is necessary to operate cars without human intervention. While this sounds promising, it also begs the question of whether self-driving cars will ever be ready.
For example, a self-driving car manufactured five years ago may prove unsafe to put on the roads today. New car models need to be recognized, climate conditions to contend with, and traffic patterns to negotiate. All this requires a tweak to the core algorithm that runs the vehicle. Can manufacturers deliver the necessary updates quick enough to factor in all these changes?
The good news is that autonomous vehicle developers are hard at work. They’re fighting a battle that seems unwinnable, but perhaps it’s only a matter of time before they discover the right technology that will power these vehicles for good.