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

I am the Manager of Transportation Sustainability at Parsons Brinckerhoff. Recently, I won the William Barclay Parsons fellowship for my research proposal to study how the United States government should respond to driverless cars. As I'm working on my research, I thought this blog would help to disseminate my findings and provide a forum for feedback.
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