Automobiles in the Near Future (And How They Support Driverless Cars)

Driverless cars will likely not be available for at least a few years while the technology is still being developed and the regulations are just beginning to be discussed. In the meantime, technologies for automobiles are advancing.  While cars now are not “autonomous,” there are many “automated” features as being added.  As cited in this New York Times article, here are examples of some of the recent developments: “pilot assist” on highway roads, blind spot detection, automatic braking, and drowsy driver warning notifications. These technologies will only continue to become more sophisticated as humans adapt to the idea of “letting go of the wheel.”  In fact, I believe Scott Keogh of Audi said it best: “There’s not going to be some magical moment when we say, here is the autonomous car. We have the technology, and we are going to keep bringing it out, step by step. You need to have customer acceptance and see what consumers are willing to pay for.”

On a related note, I was recently presenting at the APA conference in Seattle and I asked the group “how many of you would get a ride in a driverless car if the option presented itself to you?” Only about a third of the group was willing.  I do believe these incremental advancements in car technologies are going to help humans adapt to the idea of trusting the driverless car technologies.

About Lauren Isaac

Lauren Isaac is the Director of Business Initiatives for the North American operation of EasyMile. Easymile provides electric, driverless shuttles that are designed to cover short distances in multi-use environments. Prior to working at EasyMile, Lauren worked at WSP where she was involved in various projects involving advanced technologies that can improve mobility in cities. Lauren wrote a guide titled “Driving Towards Driverless: A Guide for Government Agencies” regarding how local and regional governments should respond to autonomous vehicles in the short, medium, and long term. In addition, Lauren maintains the blog, “Driving Towards Driverless”, and has presented on this topic at more than 75 industry conferences. She recently did a TEDx Talk, and has been published in Forbes and the Chicago Tribune among other publications.
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