Synthesis blog - imagining what the future landscape in a world of self-driving cars would look like.
This is a synthesis blog for Dylan Hong's semester. It covers all topics he has blogged about and some of what his final project worked on.
Tesla set out to create the safest semi-truck you can buy. To accomplish this goal, every truck Tesla sells will have advanced autopilot as a standard. This includes features such as emergency breaking, automatic lane keeping, and forward collision warnings. The technology to accomplish this level of autonomy and safety, the Tesla semi uses the same hardware suite from the Model S, 3, and X. This means there will be 8 cameras, 1 radar, and ultrasonic sensors scattered all around the body. Additionally, the raw data from most of these cameras will be accessible to the driver, something that can’t be done from Tesla’s passenger cars. This is to allow the truck drivers a 360 degree view of their surroundings and eliminate blindspots. Elon Musk also mentioned convoy technology that will be implemented with the trucks. This will use the autonomous technology to have Tesla semi trucks follow each other for maximum aerodynamic efficiency.
Alphabet’s Waymo is already on the streets. It’s important to note that they have not yet begun public usage. In other terms, nobody outside of the Waymo bubble has had the chance to be chauffeured around by the first legitimately driverless cars on the road. Waymo plans to roll out the service to the entire Phoenix area, but is currently confined to small parts of the city. According to Ars Techinica, Waymo is planning on replicating this roll-out style in the rest of the country when they have a large enough fleet of cars. The success of this operation is critical to the public’s perception of self-driving cars. This is the first time that regular people will be piloted in cars with no human at the steering wheel.
The development of self-driving car technology has gotten to the point of inevitability. There will be a day when self-driving cars are the norm on our roads. Because of the many benefits that this will bring, the companies making this technology want to be able to ship their products as soon as possible. Autonomous vehicle education will soon be widespread through marketing campaigns. For the legislative allowance of self-driving cars, the general public has to understand what they are, what they do, and why they do it. Hopefully, the foresight on the part of companies pushing this education lead to safer and more efficient roads sooner rather than later. The future is already set, it’s now just a matter of accepting.
There are many stories of self-driving cars that are about to hit the road, but remember to stay skeptical! It seems like technology executives are just making statements to excite people. To ride the wave as their stock prices rise every time a CEO makes a new promise about how superior their technology is. Generally, the worst thing that happens when you release a half-baked product is you annoy a few costumers. Releasing a half-baked self-driving car could kill people. I’m just saying that it’s better for everybody overall if we release self-driving cars when they are ready, not just when news outlets want them to be.
In lieu of bad publicity around the company Uber, they are getting ahead of the game and promoting transparency in the realm of self driving cars. They don’t want their past reputation to soil any potential marketshare they can obtain in the field of autonomous vehicles. Now that we have a previously shady company trying to repent for their mistakes, we see an Uber that’s trying as hard as they can to increase trust in themselves as well as autonomous vehicles. This could be what the public needed. Uber may very well be the company that starts steering the public into the favor of self-driving cars. Maybe Uber’s untrustworthy past will be the driving force in securing widely-accepted autonomous future.
The reality remains that most cities will have to slowly adapt to accommodate self-driving cars. But, it is interesting to consider the cases where entirely new urban developments place no restrictions on infrastructure development. This provides insight into what the "ideal" self-driving city would be, and what our current cities could aspire to.
Until autonomous vehicles are fully integrated into our cities transportation networks, I expect to see the technology solve similar but less risky problems. Autonomous driving is such a revolutionary technology is hard to get people to adopt outright byslowly introducing the population to these features slowly as the technology is improved, companies could start to alleviate some of the trust issues that could block full adoption of autonomous vehicles. For this reason the first widely available autonomous features will most likely be present in devices such as wheelchairs that can still provide some benefits without as much of a leap in trust.
Autonomous driving technology is improving at such a rate that in no time, the largest technical issues surrounding them will be overcome. What will prove to be the hardest thing to overcome is the human element on the roads. As much as 75% Americans stated in a recent poll that they fear driving in an autonomous vehicle. In order to get wide spread use of AV’s this issue of trust must be overcome. Companies such as Waymo have begun launching ad campaigns in conjunction with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the National Safety Council, and the Federation for Blind Children in order to mend this issue of trust.
Changing someone's mind and their preconceived notions is not as simple as presenting them with accurate data and facts. In fact, it can be very difficult to change someones mind once it is made up. This can be tricky when trying to navigate emerging technologies. How can the AV industry ensure that public opinions are being formed by accurate information and not through misinformation.
How will we prepare for a future society that integrates self driving cars? How have societies handled and predicted new technological advancements, and how accurate have they been?
How will clickbait and false representations of AV accidents effect user trust in this emerging technology?
There are two clear lanes for autonomous vehicles to enter: personal AVs and ride sharing or communal self driving cars. This post examines two companies, Audi and Uber, going after different segments of the market in order to examine which is best positioned for success?
How will the world of pop-culture interact with self-driving cars? We have seen their depiction in movies and TV shows in the past but could its appearance in modern entertainment mediums play a role in developing user trust?