The future of self-driving cars—and the road to understanding the evolution
Imagine a driving scenario where there’s no road rage. Consider never wasting gas and patience when you’re stuck in traffic or hunting for a parking spot. Envision a world with far fewer accidents, fatalities, and injuries than there are today—thousands, if not millions fewer.
None of these things are pipe dreams. In fact, they’re the intended benefits of automated-driving technologies. Partially and fully automated cars aren’t just about convenience, they’re about eliminating the most tedious and dangerous aspects of driving.
That said, consumer skepticism, confusion, and even fear about the automated-driving future remains. For the past few years, conversations around the technology have been, at times, contradictory. The timeline for self-driving vehicles hitting the road continues to evolve, leaving some wondering what capabilities will emerge (and when) and what each stage of vehicle automation will bring to everyday driving experiences.
What often gets lost in the translation of self-driving cars is the human element and how it will complement in-vehicle technology and capabilities—and the consumer’s overall relationship to the vehicle. Some technologies perceived as futuristic and positioned to pave the way to self-driving ubiquity are already available in today’s cars.
In fact, some life-saving technologies are mandated by law as stepping stones in the foundation for automated driving. Electronic stability control, which helps a vehicle gain traction and prevent skidding, automatically applies the brakes to individual wheels. This is a mandated technology as of model year 2012. All new vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 lb or less must have it on board.
There’s also automatic emergency braking, which is designed to greatly reduce the number of rear-end collisions. Consumers think this is somehow tied to the rollout of self-driving vehicles, but it’s an option for many new cars today. Many major vehicle manufacturers intend to make this technology standard by 2022.
Beyond the current availability of those specific technologies, there are other sources of confusion regarding the greater rollout of automated driving. The evolution of self-driving vehicles will happen in distinct stages, and it will follow different paths for privately owned and service-oriented vehicles.
The Bosch Automated Mobility Academy is an invaluable resource to help educate the public on the stages of this pending transition. Each technology and stage of the self-driving revolution is explained in straightforward language, with videos and animated graphics to illustrate each concept and feature. The content also provides insight into what’s on the horizon, from conditional and highly automated driving solutions that are still in development to fully automated technologies that will be able to take total control of the vehicle. It’s the first step in understanding what these technologies can bring to the table, and their benefits can change the landscape of our daily lives.
From highway-only modes, to fully autonomous parking solutions, to the artificial intelligence (AI) that ties all these in-car systems together, we’re driving toward a safer, more-convenient future for cars.