Self driving cars and the issues surrounding it
Every automaker believes that the future of cars is driverless ones. So many companies are collaborating to bring out this tech on road. We have read the collaboration between Uber and ford, Lyft and general motors and similarly many.
This shows how much the companies are willing to come together to make this a reality. Uber has its own team of engineers building software for the futuristic autonomous cars.
There are several issues in making driverless cars a reality:
- Prices: The prices of driverless cars are definitely going to be high. As the companies have invested so much on research and development it is natural they will be priced high.
- Apprehensions: we are not sure about how good these machines are. People cannot be expected to put their lives at the mercy of a machine. Many believe that machines cannot have the nuances that a human drive has. Though there are claims kept forward by manufacturers that autonomous cars will bring down the accidents that occur, we are still in doubt over trusting machines.
- Market: autonomous cars require a good infrastructure, roads with proper lanes and signals. This might be a common thing in the first world or developed countries, the situations in developing or under developed and overcrowded countries is completely different. Thus restricting the market which can purchase these cars.
So these are the issues which will most probably hinder the sales and future of driverless cars. But any advancement in the history of technology has been met with such fears and doubts and all of them have successfully managed to break it and enter our lives.
Take in case our before generations would have believed that internet would be really a difficult thing to achieve given that you have to lay underground wires in the ocean but here we are in a world connected through the world wide web.
How do car manufacturers try to overcome these?
Once the cars make into the road people will start losing their fears, more and more people will come forward to buy them. Also the companies at present are focusing on the research and development to build the best they can.
Imagine a car built with innumerable sensors which are vigilant every second you drive unlike a human being who will lose concentration any moment, is always a better choice.
But all that requires is the nuances of a human being; the logical thinking is the key. A machine is just a stupid system which can do whatever a human instructs it to do so. But a really intelligent system should have the capability to process data and make conclusions and enact them.
Mimicking a human brain and nervous is no simple task. We as humans are complex and replicating it takes a highly intelligent hardware and software system. For this we need data to design these smart systems.
At present the taxi aggregators like Uber and Lyft have access to thousands of cars and data related to those machines. Now the collaboration between manufacturers and taxi aggregators makes more sense, the companies can track the vehicles they have access to every move of it and can make use of it to their own good.
Of course some of the drivers are enraged over the fact that the data collected from them is inevitably going to crush their own livelihood, maybe not at the moment but the situation is in making.
So now the companies have managed to get hands over data collection to build software systems. Apart from mere data collection the taxi aggregators will also prove to be a launch pad for driverless cars.
Medium for autonomous cars:
How to put autonomous cars into the lives of people who otherwise fear it for incapability and high prices? The answer is Uber or Lyft. Thousands of people take a ride in Uber or lyft everyday, so they will help in clearing public doubt over these vehicles.
Also not every other person is not going to be in a position to buy these cars but can afford to take a ride on Uber. Uber has thousands of vehicles registered on its platform, imagine replacing al these with autonomous cars this itself is a huge market for the manufacturers even if normal people are not buying it.
So why should Uber agree to buy or build driverless cars?
They get to eliminate the human called driver. Yes no more driver background verification or pricing to please the drivers. They will have their own fleet of vehicles and take all the gains they make from a ride.
This is a win-win situation for both taxi aggregators and car manufacturers.
What is the present status of driver fewer cars?
Well, the future looks promising and interest enough but at present nothing seems to go in the way for these companies at least with respect to public relations. Here are some of the PR disasters that happened in the context of driverless cars.
Uber is currently ‘testing” its ford fusion cars on road. However, a facebook post shows the car moving into a one-way road in a wrong direction.
Of course, it is a testing phase and one can argue this is not a disaster but in terms of the public image well it’s quite damaging.
But people remember it is called testing phase for a reason.
But hold on Uber is not alone in this waters Google’s autonomous car Lexus got into an accident too.
However, the company has stated that the crash was due to a human error rather than the machine’s fault leading to air bags getting deployed.
A truck driver jumped a red light leading to a crash with the SUV.
Another major example would be Tesla’s auto pilot feature, which got the rider killed. The company has stated in an it blog post that the drivers need to vigilant with the autopilot on, as it is still in public beta phase. This is the first fatality related to auto pilot with Tesla.
Many engineers and autonomous car designers have responded to the incident that the technology is under developed to be put in the hand of common man.
One Volvo engineer stated that the smooth travelling experience provided by driverless cars makes us believe that as if everything is being handled well but which is not true.
So Tesla has issued a public statement to all its users to not rely completely on auto pilot.