5 things you should know about autonomous cars
With pressure mounting on automakers to continuously improve the safety and fuel efficiency of vehicles, it’s only natural that we’re beginning to see signs of autonomy incorporated into our cars. So for all the skeptics out there, familiarize yourself with our list of the top five things you should know about the self-driving car before it arrives.
- Autonomous cars are more fuel efficient
In the world of autonomous cars, ultimately there will be no steering wheel or foot pedals, thus decreasing the vehicle’s weight and increasing its efficiency. Plus, more control requires less fuel. Vehicle-to-vehicle communication will make it so vehicles maintain a certain speed limit and aren’t constantly weaving in and out of lanes to pass other drivers on the road.
- A car that drives itself is safer
An autonomous car is programmed to do one thing: drive. Humans on the other hand, have the ability to do much more. According to a study by the ENO Center for Transportation, 90 percent of all driving accidents are caused by driver error. With vehicle-to-vehicle communication, cars can avoid human error accidents and collisions caused by common distractions – think alcohol consumption, texting, eating, putting on makeup, looking at scenery, etc. With safety at the forefront of design, autonomous cars can detect foreign objects, such as deer, from miles away.
- Autonomy saves you time and hassle
More than 5 percent of the average American’s life is spent driving. When the steering wheel is obsolete, your hands and mind will be freed of focusing on the road. The autonomous car will make the driver the passenger, meaning free valet and time to check emails, catch up with friends or even watch a movie.
- It’s inevitable
As Dave Muyres, executive director of Global Product Innovation at Johnson Controls, says:
“One-hundred years ago, everyone rode around on a horse. But the horse’s role completely changed. I’m suggesting the same thing will happen with the car.”
Just as cars replaced horses, and automatic transmissions replaced manual transmissions, self-driving cars will one day replace vehicle drivers. Self-parking aids, automated brakes, lane-keeping technologies and self-sufficient operating systems are all steps toward making the self-driving car a reality. And once it’s here, there will be no going back.
- The driverless car is closer than you think
Automakers, manufacturers and technology companies have a lot of hurdles to jump before autonomous cars are zipping down the highway. Heavy rain, snow flurries, and finding one common language for vehicles are some of the biggest challenges halting the development of prototypes. But the fact of the matter is that every automaker is working on autonomous cars.
"Every year we see technology increase towards fully autonomous vehicles," says Han Hendriks, vice president of Advance Product Development, Johnson Controls. "We believe that 2025 will be a turning point.”