Driving isn’t one of most people’s favorite activities.
In fact, if you drive the same route daily, you may have found that you sometimes space out completely while driving, arriving at your destination without remembering any specifics from the drive at all.
As wonderful as cars are, it would make many lives easier if they could drive themselves, and that’s just what autonomous cars hope to accomplish.
Relax While You Travel
Autonomous vehicles are certainly having a moment, and that might lead you to believe that they’re a wholly modern invention, but that’s not technically true. In fact, the first self-driving car was invented by GM more than 60 years ago.
That first self driving car was controlled by electromagnetic fields and radio signals, a far cry from the current technology. Today, a robust set of sensors, detailed software that helps a vehicle react to obstructions, and constant communication with the automakers’ “clouds” are behind self driving cars.
To be specific, Tesla and Google are currently at the forefront of the autonomous vehicle industry, though nearly every major automaker trails in the same pursuit. Google has already begun using some self-driving cars to update their Maps (with plans for more consumer vehicles on the way), and Tesla’s autopilot feature has been a part of their cars for several years.
Autonomous cars work as part of the Internet of Things, which is a connected network of devices that all communicate with one another in real time. Because of their connectivity, these self driving cars are able to take into account potential traffic jams, weather concerns, and detours.
While the idea of taking a nap, reading a book, or watching a movie while your car does the work of getting from point A to point B is quite appealing to most, that’s not the only application for self driving technology.
Changing Every Industry
Certainly daily life and travel will be greatly impacted by the rise of self driving cars, but there’s one industry that will be much more impacted than any other by this technology: delivery. From packages to pizza, it likely won’t be long before everything you find on your doorstep made its way to you with the help of a self driving car.
Actually, depending on where you live, that process may have already started. UPS and the United States Post Office have already begun engaging in trials with self-driving vehicles for deliveries. This technology is probably a way off from being adopted nationwide (or worldwide), but it’s clear that businesses and agencies recognize the opportunity it presents.
Still, for all the buzz, self driving vehicles probably won’t be commonplace for a few more years. 2019 and 2020 have been touted as major development years for this technology, but automakers are having trouble accounting for one thing: human error.
Because it’s difficult to predict with an algorithm what other drivers or pedestrians will do, it’s difficult to effectively program a self-driving vehicle to react quickly enough to other people’s errors.
There’s no doubt that plenty self driving cars will be available for you to purchase within the next decade, but if you had your sights set on buying one in the immediate future, you’ll likely need to practice some extra patience before it can happen.