Autonomous cars will hit our streets, but just when that
will happen depends on whom you ask. Some experts claim they are only a handful
of years away, while others still speculate it will take decades to integrate
this technology into our everyday lives.
And if you haven’t been following along, it can be an overwhelming
topic to dig into. So, we at the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association
have put together the Cliff Notes version of the race to autonomous cars featuring
must-read stories, as it has huge implications for our industry.
What exactly counts
as an autonomous car?
Many vehicles on the road now have special controls or
functions to assist drivers, but that doesn’t make them autonomous. In this graphic
by Wired magazine, autonomous
vehicles are broken down into six categories based on different degrees of
automation. It’s towards the bottom of the page – please keep scrolling. This
guide is just the start of understanding autonomous vehicles.
Story: A Brief History of Autonomous VehicleTechnology
Who wants in?
Everybody wants in. By one count, 263 companies are vying to
cash in on the autonomous vehicle revolution. The transportation industry is
reforming and reinventing itself through mergers, acquisitions and
collaborations to accommodate the continuing changes and demands associated
with driverless cars.
Story: Mapped:The Top 263 Companies Racing Toward Autonomous Cars
Here’s an obvious
question – isn’t it dangerous?
Cybersecurity is a concern for autonomous vehicles. Maliciously
interfering with a car could have serious implications for safety. To address
cyber risks, high standards of system resilience, such as robust data
encryption, will need to be engineered.
As cars become more connected, it could be possible for
hackers to access personal data, such as typical journeys or where a person is
at a particular time, which could, for example, allow a burglar to know when a
person is not at home.
However, not all concerns are negative. Last year, there
were nearly 40,000 deaths in the United States from auto-related accidents, the
deadliest for automotive-related deaths since 2008 and the largest
year-over-year percentage increase in 50 years. One of the key causes of the
increase was deaths attributed to distracted driving incidents, mainly texting
while driving. Widespread usage of autonomous vehicles will save lives.
Story: Distracteddriving deaths are trending, and not in a good way
How is the government
The US Department of Transportation has designated 10 sites
in nine states to serve as proving grounds for self-driving cars. In the next
few years, the government will have other issues to address when it comes to
driverless vehicles, often developing policy as the technology itself develops.
Story: These nine states will serve as testing grounds for self-driving cars
Story: Self-Driving Cars Gain Powerful Ally: The Government
We’ll surely be keeping up with this technology at TLPA –
it’s the story to watch.