Recent news has somewhat clouded the future of autonomous cars as some recent incidents involving these cars have caused injury or death of one of the vehicle occupants. One important question remains: can we trust autonomous cars? The answer is not clear cut.
What is clear is that 100% autonomous cars are not yet ready to replace traditional cars. That said, the technology that makes it possible for autonomous cars to happen is ready, and is being tested as we speak.
Indeed, autonomous cars are out there right now, being tested on public roads as well as on private courses set up by manufacturers, but also by companies that are venturing into the automotive industry for the first time, like Google for example.
Moreover, there are plenty of semi-autonomous features in modern vehicles currently available at most dealerships.
Examples include lane change assist and adaptive cruise control. Specifically, these technologies use cameras or sensors to detect the presence of lines on the road, or other vehicles in front of you, and notify you if you do not react to a situation where your car is about the change lanes into oncoming traffic, or you are not braking when a vehicle is fast approaching in front of you. Because these technologies actually take control of the vehicle away from you, they are in essence autonomous, even if only for an instant. The list of autonomous features in modern vehicles is certainly longer than just the two technologies listed above. Automatic braking both front and rear, as well as autonomous steering are two other examples.
Although we have not yet seen the day when your vehicle can drive you to work and back while you read the newspaper, what is certain is that we are handing over a greater amount of responsibilities to our cars on a regular basis. The good news is that it should make us safer out on the road.
Thank you to Promenade Kia for their help with this article!