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The Future of the Self Driving Car is Now

By May 14, 2016New

There’s no technology more anticipated than that of the self driving car. Especially for Los Angelenos, driving ourselves to work and home every time alone can be a stressful and time-consuming process. When thinking of the time and energy that could be saves if your car could take over that burden for you, it can make one swoon! While the technology isn’t completely ready for us to completely let the wheel go, there are many companies working furiously to help that to become a reality. Other agencies are also working to keep up. ME self driving car
For now, there are no Federal laws pertaining to driverless cars. It’s up to each state to create their own laws pertaining to the licensing and operating of these futuristic vehicles. The state of California has been the most proactive, offering mandatory instructional classes for those wanting to obtain their “autonomous vehicle testing” permit.
In the course, one learns mostly how not to drive the car. There are special instructions of what to do in case of an emergency and such. This means the “driver” of a driverless car can not fully relax yet. Driverless cars operate almost selectively on the freeway. Once it reaches the end of a highway, or a construction zone (where they cannot drive), the passenger/ “driver” must be alert and take the wheel.
Federal Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx, says his department is slated to release more clear guidance for manufacturers and model standards to help guide the beginning of the driverless era. The department intends to spend $4 billion dollars over the next 10 years to incentivize and test more autonomous vehicles.
Many companies are working toward getting their driverless products/ programs out there even earlier. Companies like Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Tesla, and Google all have programs dedicated to the cause. Some cars have more driverless capabilities than others. Think of it, many cars on the road today already have the ability to detect other cars in the next lane, self-brake, and even self-park. In the next few years, Audi hopes to have technology out that will allow cars to at least take over heavy traffic “jams.” Although, no car is truly autonomous now, completely autonomous cars are projected to debut in 2019.
Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, compares the future of cars to that of the elevator, “They used to have elevator operators, and then we developed some simple circuitry to have elevators just come to the floor that you’re at, you just press the button. Nobody needs to operate the elevator. The car is just going to be like that.”ME - self driving car
Besides disrupting the way that individuals travel on their own, self-driving cars could have a major impact on shipping, long-distance travel, and even ride-sharing. Lyft, a main ride-sharing application succeeding right now, hopes to launch their own fleet of driverless taxis in at least one U.S. city by 2017. Although drivers will still be required in the driverless vehicle by law, the person driving your Lyft may not have to lift a finger at all someday. The company is working toward making their entire fleet of drivers obsolete in time.
Although the future seems a little bit scary, the future of an autonomous car has its obvious benefits. A large one being the elimination of human-based error. According to the european company KPMG, driverless cars are projected to save 2,500 lives within the next 15 years.
Although there are great strides being taken to get driverless cars on the road, it will be a very long time before we see them being commonplace. Musk predicts even if all cars became autonomous tomorrow, based on the number of cars there are in the world and at the rate it takes to manufacture them, it would still take 20 years to replace every car already on the road.
Many steps need to happen before that, outside of manufacturing, to get to that place, such as a maturation in technology, solid federal laws governing the operation of such vehicles, and, more practically, a dip in cost. Despite the obstacles, it’s exciting to be witness to such a historical change. Some of us may be the owners of some of the first completely autonomous cars within the next 10 years. That’s a future we’re looking forward to.

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