Self-driving cars aren’t your default cars yet. Have you ever wondered why?
For the past 2 decades, we have been talking about electrification of vehicles to combat global warming and a limited supply of fossil fuel. The talks have now moved to Autonomous driving now.
With Elon Musk’s Tesla and Uber pilot project of driverless cars, the concept has received both widespread acclaim and criticism equally. While some point their concerns towards imminent on-road safety protocols, others challenge its possibility. The obstacles to self-driving cars are many, but one thing is definite – they are your future.
But what’s keeping them off the road; why the radio silence?
Also, no state of the US has outright banned the technology. On the contrary, many states have enacted laws authorizing the use of autonomous vehicles.
Elon Musk said that Tesla will have fully autonomous cars by the end of 2020. It’s 2021 now, and we can’t blame him. As the world’s only man behind the most pioneering technologies of the century, we can surely spare him once for extending the deadline for one of his innovative projects. The man has been really busy bringing our astronauts home with the help of his SpaceX program.
In a different context, one would say we need to succeed with electric cars first.
Disagreed. Source of energy is secondary. A smarter technology’s primary requirement is data, which comes when it comes intact with all the necessary units capable of processing that data and gets optimum help from the external resources it will use to execute clean driving. Surely having a car that is one hundred percent electric will compliment the process better in the long run.
It is quite clear that there ought to be a rather valid explanation for this.
Also, we will not discuss the maturity of technology.
3 reasons self-driving cars are still not here
#1. We don’t have a latency-free high-speed network here
Yes, we are talking about 5G. No; it is not available in many places.
Like your 4G LTE mobile network, 5G is a broadband that promises wireless transfer of data 1000X faster than your current internet speed.
A high-speed, latency free internet connection is the ultimate key to automation. Your car will use this to communicate with the onboard equipment as well as other external IoT devices.
#2: Advancement outside the car is equally important
Can it understand the rules of the road like a human? When on road, humans can make random decisions that might not confuse other human counterparts, but a machine might never figure that out. Decisions like who should go first at a four-way intersection or stopping in the middle of the road to people during road accidents would be its ultimate test.
To enable automation inside the car, everything outside the car needs to be automated too.
We will need roads that are generally orderly, cars that aren’t alien to each other, and a revamp of the entire system of driving regulations and standards.
#3. Social acceptability
The crash of a Tesla Model X in 2020 that led to the death of the driver raised several questions regarding the acceptance of “Autopilot,” software that enables automated driving.
Robert Sumwalt, Chairman of The National Transport and Safety Board (NTSB) said about the incident, “If you own a car with partial automation, you do not own a self-driving car. So don’t pretend that you do. This means that when driving in the supposed self-driving mode you can’t sleep. You can’t read a book. You can’t watch a movie or TV show. You can’t text. And you can’t play video games. Yet that’s precisely what we found that this driver was doing.”
From the departed driver’s perspective, the technology seemed as trustworthy as the braking system of a regular car. However, you can never be over-reliant on any technology, especially when it is yet to become a worldwide phenomenon.