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.
AVs might make commutes much easier, but they might also make commutes much longer. Increased suburban sprawl is a serious concern, but luckily urban planners are already thinking of potential solutions.
AVs are already being used as public transit in some areas. There are still issues to iron out, but the AVs are going slow enough to be extremely safe for pedestrians. Might pedestrians take advantage of AV safety features and eventually take over roads?
AVs are programed to ignore speed limits, but should they be? Should it depend on context?
AVs have trouble identifying bikes, which poses serious problems for safety. One possible solution is to dedicate more road space to bikes, but that might be hard to do in our (autonomous) car-addicted culture.
Highway driving is an already established use case for autonomous driving. The full benefits, however, can only be attained when the interference of manual-driven cars are removed from the scenario. Dedicating an AV lane on highways would be a cost-effective measure to modify infrastructure to cope with the transition period to full autonomy, as well as provide much-needed improvements in traffic.
Highway driving is a very constrained use case, which has allowed successful testing of autonomous technologies such as Tesla's Autopilot with little problem. But, cities pose unique challenges for AVs to cope with, and one of the largest challenge is the permanent presence of pedestrians. Safety of everyone should obviously be paramount, but just where the compromise lies between pedestrian and AV-rider convenience within cities is still to be determined.
Every day seems to offer a new vision of autonomous vehicle infrastructure. It can be confusing enough for industry professionals to make sense of it all, much less the politicians that will be making decisions on it. The current state of our infrastructure is terrible, which provides the opportunity to design improvements with self-driving cars in mind in order to prepare for the future.
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 do we discover the most effective ways of communicating how autonomous vehicles can solve many if not all of the public's pain points? How did the aviation industry tackle this question and can it be used as an example for autonomous vehicles?
Cars were not always the dominant mode of transportation on streets – it used to be pedestrians. As cars became increasingly deadly for pedestrians, people wanted to place limits on drivers. Drivers and car manufacturers pushed back, and successfully victim-blamed and criminalized pedestrian actions.