The concept of Driverless Cars has evolved over the years. Cars that drive themselves aren’t science fiction anymore. In 2020, self-driven cars are talked about in terms of practicality and not just in theory. High-end cars already have some level of automation. And in the near future, full automation shall become a reality. Read ahead to know more about the impact of driverless cars on human lives.

How Driverless Cars Will Change the World Around Us - Acko

Understanding Driverless Cars:

A driverless car is a self-driven vehicle. It runs on different levels of automation. The underlying objective of such cars is to create a safe driving experience for not just the passenger but the entire community.

Driverless cars are still far from reality when it comes to the prevalent common cars on the street. However, there has been constant change. The ‘driverless’ aspect is being introduced – one step at a time – in the market and welcomed by the people in its own capacity.

Different Levels of Automation:

Just as there are different gears in a car, there are different levels of automation when it comes to Driverless Cars. A lot of cars around the world and in India have some of the automation features. Some cars might be at the lower end and some might be at the higher end, but there is a conscious wave of introducing automation in cars as a distinguishing factor between models or as an epitome of luxury, or both. Listed below are different levels of automation in cars.

Basic:

This is the bare minimum type of automation seen in vehicles. Example – parking assist.

Partial:

Here, the machine displays some sort of control and is not basic anymore. Example – steering control.

Conditional:

In this scenario, the involvement of automation or technology is subject to certain conditions. Example – emergency braking.

High:

The High level is when the automation enjoys a considerable amount of control for a significant period. Example – self-driven in certain situations.

Full:

This is the highest level of automation where the car is entirely driven by technology. Example – no human intervention.

Different Technologies Involved in Driverless Cars:

There is no single technology that is driving the Driverless Cars industry. The working of Driverless Cars is dependent on the combination of several technologies. These technologies come into the picture based on the level of automation of a vehicle. There is a constant give and take between these technologies that enable Driverless Cars to function at an optimal level. Here’s a list of different technologies that are involved in Driverless Cars.

  • Global Positioning System (GPS)
  • Light detection and Ranging (LiDAR)
  • Cameras for tracking
  • Radar
  • Multi-domain controller

Positive Impact of Driverless Cars:

Driverless Cars have the potential to do wonders for human safety, daily lifestyle, and the environment. Listed below are some of the points related to the positive impact that Driverless Cars can have in the future.

Increased Safety:

It is said that the majority of car accidents happen due to human errors. Self-driven cars will reduce these human errors and result in a safe driving environment. It is anticipated that there will be fewer car accidents and the roads will be a lot safer for drivers as well as pedestrians.

Reduced Traffic:

Often, the cause of a traffic jam boils down to irrational human actions. Either someone is driving in the wrong lane, overtaking when there is no room, and trying to squeeze through when there’s no space. Not following rules and regulations is a massive issue. Driverless cars are programmed to follow rules and regulations and this will lead to reduced traffic.

No Parking:

Self-driven cars have the potential to reduce parking hassles. Finding space to park your car is a huge challenge in metro cities. With the right technology, there might come a time where a self-driven car will drop you at a movie theatre, drive itself back to your residential building’s assigned parking space, patiently wait there for the movie to get over and be right back on time to pick you up from the movie hall. That would be nice, wouldn’t it?

If not back home, then the car can park itself in a designated nearby area. This will save time and energy when it comes to parking a four-wheeler.

Eco-friendly:

It is likely that fully automated cars will run on electricity. They can be solar powered as well. Such a shift will have a positive impact on the environment. People will finally move away from fuel-driven cars and commute in an environment-friendly manner.

Peace of Mind:

Driverless cars will lead to less quarrelling while driving, optimal usage of travel time, and improvement in road safety. Ultimately, it will translate to peace of mind. Commuting is a crucial aspect of day-to-day living and driverless cars can make daily travel seamless.

Also, read: Understanding Highway Hypnosis and Ways to Avoid It

Driverless Cars and Car Insurance:

This Driverless Car revolution is going to affect a lot of industries and one of them is the car insurance industry. Just as the car manufacturing industry will evolve with this technology, the car insurance industry will also undergo a change. Driverless Cars will not negate the need for a car insurance policy but will modify it. Car insurance companies will have to change their strategies accordingly.

Driverless Cars might reduce the risk of an accident but car theft and damage due to natural calamities etc. will still be prevalent and car insurance companies will continue to issue dedicated policies to cover those risks. Driverless Cars are also bound to come with their share of concerns and risks. And the car insurance industry will come up with appropriate insurance policies to cover those risks.

Frequently Asked Questions:

By when will Driverless Cars turn into a reality in India?

The route to autonomous Driverless Cars is still ‘work in progress’. Pioneers of this technology are still working on testing their models in various environments. Driverless Cars will take years to turn into reality even in developed countries. In 2020, you still have to drive your car and insure it as it is compulsory to do so in India.

What are some of the challenges faced by the Driverless Cars industry?

Some of the key challenges faced by the Driverless Cars industry are finding fail-proof technologies, meeting government regulations, and dealing with the important question – can machines be trusted to make the right decision in a tricky situation?

Which are the companies that are working on manufacturing Driverless Cars?

Some of the major companies involved in manufacturing Driverless Cars are Tesla, Google, BMW, Ford, and Mercedes.

How do Driverless Cars claim to be safer?

Driverless Cars claim to be safer as they are positioned as a technology that will negate the human error in driving cars. They can focus efficiently and they don’t drink and drive.

What is the cynicism associated with Driverless Cars?

The cynicism associated with Driverless Cars is that it might work in a particular regulated area but it is difficult to imagine a future where Driverless Cars will form the majority of vehicles when it comes to roads in India. For example, Driverless Cars might be a reality in a newly developed Smart City but the cynicism seeps in when it is expected that Driverless Cars will also be a reality in highly populous locations and tier 3 cities.