It is estimated that by 2020 there will be over 250 million cars connected to the internet via the new 5G network, some of these will have no need for a driver.
Whether consumers are ready or not, driver-less cars no longer belong in the realm of science fiction.
All car manufacturers are moving forward, developing the technology needed to create a safe, reliable car that is completely autonomous.
Technological advancements in sensors, on-board computers, video cameras and LIDAR are just some of the areas which are driving these changes.
Driverless cars are the future
The Society for Automotive Engineers based in New York have developed a rating scale to judge the level of autonomy of all vehicles.
Vehicles which rate at level 0 and 1 are what we many people drive today. For a car to be seen as ‘driverless’ it will need to be rated at level 4 at least.
However, cars are becoming more automated each day. Cars are being fitted with features which are designed to make driving easier and safer, and also to get drivers used to the idea of them having more control.
Some autonomous features offer limited assisted driving options, such as anti-skid, parking assist, and rear parking videos, etc.
Features that are being developed on many self-driving cars include the capacity to accelerate and decelerate, the ability to change lanes, merge with traffic, and overtake slower vehicles completely autonomously.
A Level 4 vehicle has no driver at all, and the car can automatically handle most situations. Level 5 means that no driver is needed to the point where the steering wheel and pedals have been removed from the car.
Cars are becoming more automated each year
What does the future hold for cars?
Google was the first to get a license for driverless cars in June 2011, and are streaming forward with IoT technologies.
Tesla’s “summon” feature allows their autonomous car to drive in and out of parking spaces and garages without the owner being behind the wheel.
Since buying up Cruise automation, GM is working towards developing the technology needed for driverless cars on a massive scale.
BMW believes they are well on the way to developing an intelligent, driverless car by 2021.
And Honda, not to be left behind, have recently promised that their vehicles will have an auto pilot function by the end of 2020.
Google has created what it calls its “deep learning system”. This latest advancement means that your car will not only think for you but will learn from its previous experiences, good and bad. This AI will be able to act on one event after another with spilt-second timing.
What does the future hold for drivers?
One wonders if all this will take the fun out of driving or if cars rated at 0 or 1 will become novelties which can only be driven on specially created tracks or courses.
Like some people enjoy driving old fashioned cars today, it is likely that there will be those who enjoy driving and will do it for a hobby or sport while most of the population will be sitting back and letting technology tackle peak hour traffic.
About the author - Susan Day
Susan Day is a children’s author and writer. Her blog, Astro’s Adventures Book Club, is full of ideas and tips for grandparents who want to build a strong relationship with their grandchildren. In particular, Susan specializes in helping grandparents share their love of books with their grandchildren. Susan is currently writing a book titled, The Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing!
Susan lives in country Australia with four dogs, three boss cats, three rescue guinea pigs, and an errant kangaroo. And, apart from blogging, writing and reading; she loves drinking coffee, painting and learning to box.