It seems like every day more and more news about driverless cars surfaces. Every brand seems to be developing their own version from Ford to Tesla. We’ll give you a quick self-driving car update on the latest news around the autonomous car world.
According to The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE International), there are five steps to establishing vehicular autonomy. Tesla seems to have that area cornered, but Musk has competitors on his heels.
A future with driverless cars isn’t as far away as we might think.
So what are other companies doing to make autonomous cars ubiquitous before 2020? Moreover, what are the concerns citizens have about driverless car implementation?
Intel on Driverless Cars: Processors & Beyond
As of 2017 last year, the self-driving cars industry attracted all kinds of people. Tencent, Jaguar Land Rover, BMW, and more all wanted in. But those cars still need processors, sensors, and algorithms to work regardless of brand.
Intel, known for its computer processors, intends to supply all three of those things for self-driving cars. They also want to leverage the data gained from driverless cars, as well.
CEO Brian Krzanich sees autonomous cars as tools for infrastructure and transportation.
“Almost every city in the world spends millions of dollars paying people to go out and map all the potholes so that each spring you go and do pothole repair…Autonomous cars could collect that data literally for free and then give that back to cities at a much reduced price.”
Senior Vice President Doug Davis went on to discuss the possibilities of in-car entertainment.
Intel collaborated with Warner Bros. for a virtual and augmented reality technology. While riding in your autonomous car, you can select to drive through the streets of Gotham like Batman, too.
The ancillary applications of self-driving cars seem to be of major interest to Intel.
General Motors, Ford, and Google’s Latest
General Motors is one of the biggest names in cars in the U.S. A couple of months ago, they released the first look at their fully autonomous car. The Cruise AV disallows human driving of any kind since it lacks a steering wheel.
GM claims this is due to safety concerns which are unfortunate since GM got sued over a self-driving car accident in January.
This stands in contrast to Google’s Waymo driverless prototype which does have a steering wheel. The Waymo has also met more success than some other models.
In 2017, Waymo launched a fleet of driverless cars in Arizona. They also met success earlier this year, adding thousands of more cars to the fleet from Fiat Chrysler. But citizens aren’t the only ones who could partake of driverless cars implementation.
Ford wants to get a patent for autonomous police cars, as reported by ZDNet.
This patent includes a processor to detect traffic violations which could include other items. A Traffic law database, sensors, navigation tools, and mapping tech could all be included. The cars could also be linked to traffic cameras and government databases.
Not to get too conspiracy theorist here, but I’m getting an Orwellian Big Brother vibe.
At any rate, receiving a ticket from a driverless car means police departments can divert resources elsewhere. Imagine that: a world where your meter maid is a robot. That’s kind of neat.
Resistance and Worry About Vehicular Autonomy
Even though many are ready to embrace driverless cars, some still have doubts.
In fact, U.S. News reported that 58% of Californians surveyed didn’t want self-driving cars on residential streets. The poll went on to also ask about rider safety in a driverless car. 57% reported that they would feel some degree of “unsafe” in a self-driving car.
This comes from a March 22 – March 25, 2018 poll. The incident in which an Uber self-driving car killed a pedestrian occurred on March 19, 2018. But safety concerns aren’t the only issue with autonomous vehicles.
As Jalopnik reports, there may be a huge loophole when it comes to lawsuits for driverless car companies. The issue involves forced arbitration, consumer rights, and accountability. As Ed Walters, a Georgetown Law and Cornell Tech robotics law professor told CNN:
“The nightmare scenario is that someone is hurt because of a defect and it’s dealt with through a confidential arbitration proceeding that nobody knows about, and then more people are hurt because no one found out about it…”
Whether these issues get addressed in the future is a mystery.
Unfortunately, even manufacturers conceded that implementation could take “four decades”. Perhaps it will be GM, Ford, Tesla, and Google braving that frontier.