The Problems Self-Driving Cars Still Need to Overcome
- 03 Sep, 2019
Self-driving cars are a rising trend in the automotive world, and more people are beginning to trust that they will be a safe alternative to traditionally driven cars. However, while technology is moving quickly toward the development of truly driverless cars, there are still some obstacles to overcome.
Anyone who drives knows the importance of eye contact in making safe decisions. We make eye contact with other drivers and pedestrians dozens of times a day, many of which help us make split-second decisions as to the safest way to proceed. For example, making eye contact with someone standing on the sidewalk helps us determine if they are trying to cross the street and lets us know if we should yield. Self-driving cars do not have this subtlety in their algorithms. Instead, these cars are more likely to follow the strict laws of the road and rely on detecting whether a car or pedestrian is present rather than understanding intent. It will take a while for drivers and pedestrians to adapt to this change in driving culture.
Autopilot vs Autonomous
There is still a pervasive misconception surrounding the difference between autopilot and autonomous cars. Autonomous cars are completely driverless and can get from point A to point B without the need for intervention. On the other hand, autopilot is a setting that can be turned on when conditions are right. It allows the car to drive without active driver control, but the driver still needs to be ready to take control at any time. An example of autopilot would be the newer Tesla vehicles, which also have their own issues to resolve. These cars can stay in their lane on highways and even merge into other lanes on their own without the driver actively controlling the vehicle.
As technological advances progress, the cost of driverless cars will continue to go down, but as it stands, these vehicles are still in the upper price range for cars. Typically, prices are driven down by increased purchasing, but considering the risks of driverless cars, it may be challenging to inspire consumers and companies to purchase enough of these vehicles to truly drive down costs and make these cars mainstream.
Eventually, driverless cars will enter the mainstream car market and may even eclipse the number of actively driven vehicles on the road. However, before that time, there are a lot of challenges car manufacturers must overcome to ensure this technology expands to its maximum reach.
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