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The idea of driverless cars once seemed implausible and something that we only saw in sci-fi films, but we could be seeing this in the near future. Artificial intelligence (AI) has come on leaps and bounds and the auto industry is fully embracing it. This will completely revolutionise the way in which we drive down the line.
We are already seeing how artificial intelligence and modern technology is being incorporated into the motor industry. This is through the range of impressive safety technology that comes with new cars. Examples include systems which detect when a collision is imminent and applies braking, technology that senses when you are drifting out of lane and corrects your line and technology that determines when an operator is drowsy behind the wheel. This technology has already saved lives and stopped countless collisions from occurring.
There are many other impressive systems in place that assist with driving. This includes driverless parking, cruise control and blind spot monitoring. Much of this technology is now available as standard and available from many manufacturers.
The big question on everybody’s mind is “when will we see driverless cars?”. Whilst many are excited about the prospect (especially car manufacturers pioneering the AI), there are still those that have their reservations. These reservations stem from the concern over safety and making moral decisions, but also those that enjoy driving. Regardless of where you stand, technologies are being constantly tested and developed and there are even autonomous car insurance laws in place in the UK.
Race Between Manufacturers
There is very much a race between the major manufacturers to achieve the first fully autonomous automobile, with companies like Mercedes, Tesla, Lexus and BMW all developing their own systems. Additionally, the owner of Vauxhall (General Motors) has bought leading startup Cruise Automation and invested millions in ride-sharing services with a goal of introducing fully autonomous fleets.
GM has also started to develop their own AI, so it is plausible to think that Vauxhall could too be a big player in the driverless car race. Many of their current range already use advanced technology and can be bought at affordable prices from places like Motorpoint Limited.
It is not just the ability to drive with AI too, as many of the leading companies are also looking to make the experience much easier and more enjoyable. This could include vehicles that can communicate with the driver and passenger, seats that move back to create a lounge-like environment with many gadgets and automobiles that can communicate with each other and even other devices (such as your fridge at home!).
Whilst it seems the technology is almost in place for autonomous driving, the logistics are a major obstacle to overcome. Human drivers (and errors), emergency vehicles, insurance, pedestrians, hacking, ethical decisions and road infrastructure are all factors that need careful consideration.
The future certainly looks bright for AI and autonomous driving and it is fascinating to read the latest developments. One day in the not too distant future we will see driverless cars on the roads, but there are still many hurdles to overcome first.