Advice and Tips

Are self-driving cars the future of driving?

Moneybarn News // 29 June 2016

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Thanks to strides by companies such as Google, Tesla, Mercedes and BMW – self-driving cars are no longer a thing of the future. Back in 2012, Google’s Sergey Brin was quoted as saying about self-driving cars: “You can count on one hand the number of years it will take before ordinary people can experience this.”

Quite the statement. But are self-driving cars really the future of driving? And how will they impact our everyday lives?

The rise of self-driving cars

Recent research from BI Intelligence estimated that there would be 10 million self-driving cars on the roads by 2020. This may seem like a lot, but when you look at how many cars are currently on the road – 1 billion in 2010 – you realise it’s not that much at all.

But big companies are intent on making it work. Not just tech firms – like Google – but also car companies – Ford and BMW are notable here – and taxi firms – such as Uber. These companies are so set on bringing this technology to the everyday people that they have created a self-driving car Super Lobby – the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets.

Tech companies’ interests

This makes sense when you think about it. Google wants to dominate any sort of new tech market, and they have the funds to outspend any other major researchers. Their Google self-driving car was announced to be hitting the road during the summer of 2016.

Changing the automobile industry

As for Ford and BMW, how could they not be interested in this technology? Surely it will change the future of driving for everyone. Whether that means integrated and hyperoptimised transportation systems or a future where nobody owns a car, car companies would be foolish to ignore this tech.

A new kind of ride

When it comes to taxis, many companies are looking at where they can cut costs – and driver’s wages are the obvious ones.

Indeed, Uber revealed in 2014 that it wanted it’s entire fleet to be made up of self-driving cars. Uber’s CEO – Travis Kalanick – tweeted a journalist back in 2015 that he was expecting to have an entirely driverless fleet by 2030.

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Changing how we drive

Self-driving cars have many challenges before they can become fully fledged on the road. One of the biggest ones is – in the case of an accident – who does the car save?

Many of us would say that we hope the car causes the least amount of injuries possible, right? When they were quizzed, most consumers agreed this was the right course of action.

However, when they were then quizzed about a car that they themselves would buy – most consumers said they hoped that it would keep them safe, even if that meant more people outside the car would be injured.

Moral dilemmas like this are one of the big barriers to self-driving cars – outside of the usual tech problems, such as recognizing barriers and pedestrians.

The future of driving?

But when we will see self-driving cars on the road is impossible to predict. Most estimates put it between 2020 and 2030, but when they really start to impact the lives of everyday consumers is up for debate.