Players in the industry have vastly different visions of what self-driving cars will look like in the future. My question is, how much of this vision will be shaped by what consumers actually want and need?
Synthesis blog - imagining what the future landscape in a world of self-driving cars would look like.
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.
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.
Infrastructure change tends to be thought of in terms of new structures and redesigning existing structures, but the adoption of autonomous vehicles will also allow the elimination of many traditional features of infrastructure. The home garage, public parking facilities, mechanic shops, traffic lights, gas stations, and even road signs could be potentially eliminated. The disappearance of these institutions might be unsettling at first, but soon they just might be mentioned in history books.
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.
Although ownership is on the rise, people are beginning to use car sharing services more and more in order to supplement traditional sorts of transportation like busses and personal cars. There have been numerous studies about the cost of transportation and all signs point towards the fact that ride sharing is increasingly becoming the most efficient and economic form of transportation. So the question is, will city owned public transportation be a common occurrence in the future? I believe that cities will stray away from traditional public transportation and be forced to either privatize it or create newer and more efficient ways to provide public transportation that can compete with ride sharing.
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?