Monday, May 20

Answering a Concern Regarding Autonomous Vehicle

01.09.16 - Volvo Self-Driving Car

We are at the brink of having self-driving vehicles on the market for us to enjoy.  While a vast majority of us love the idea of having vehicles that drive themselves they aren’t quite ready to put their lives in the hands of technology.

Let’s think about that for a minute.  We use technology every day and have experienced times when our computers or smartphones perform slow or see what happens when the system completely shuts down.  This is more of an annoyance than anything most of the time, but what would happen if we owned a car that could drive itself and suddenly the system didn’t work?

Volvo chose to ask that very same question and found that over 92 percent of people would like to have the ability to take over the controls of the car rather than rely solely on the car driving itself.  At the same time as having the desire to take over control more than 81 percent of those asked stated the automaker should take responsibility for any accident that occurs when the car is in self-driving mode.  This view on self-driving vehicles certainly looks to show us where some of the major challenges are for automakers going forward.

As I have looked at this from several different angles, and as we make strides forward with autonomous vehicles, the one conclusion I can offer is that we will have this technology at some time in the future, but it won’t be offered anytime soon.  When I refer to soon, I can’t see fully autonomous vehicles being allowed on public roads as privately owned vehicles anytime within the next ten years at all.  There are several reasons for this delay, and most of them have to do with legislation and responsibility.

The technology has made the steps forward with many companies and we already see semi-autonomous driving on the roads, but these vehicles offer the ability to let the driver take back control of the drive whenever needed.  With this in place the responsibility continues to fall squarely on the owner of the vehicle and not on the automakers.  In order to take that step there will have to be securities and systems in place that are meant to protect ever occupant of the vehicle and avoid any kind of accidents.  So far there is no system that can do this at all without any flaws, which is what would be needed.

For the time being we will have the semi-autonomous technology but have the opportunity to take back control of the vehicles whenever we need to.  This makes it much easier for us to live with in a way that looks like it should still be a technology we can enjoy.  Volvo has its partners to allow you to watch a video on the way to the office when using the self-driving mode, but the ability to take back control is in place at all times.  Right now, this is the right marriage of us and technology.

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