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Get ready for the self-driving car

For more than a year now, there has been much  talk about the fully autonomous (self-driving) cars that are roaming the busy streets of California and beyond working out all of the ‘bugs’ that they may bump into. Yet the majority of the driving population is far too afraid of this technology to even consider buying a self-driving car – overall, they are just too dangerous.

Or are they?

In a recent survey, participants were asked if they would buy a self-driving car. Overwhelmingly, the answer was no. The same participants were then asked if they would purchase a car that takes control of the brakes and steering to avoid a collision and parks itself. The answer to this – bring it on.

What we are seeing is that each year the auto industry is introducing autonomous technology bit by bit. They have discovered that this technology, which five years ago seemed straight out of a Sci-fi film, is less scary when introduced in small batches. As the new pieces become the new normal, anxiety about the technology eases. They are considering it a revolution by evolution.

We just don’t trust the technology.

This lack of trust certainly stems from the anxiety, and that lack of trust is the biggest thing standing in the way of these cars. Yet, so many disqualified, unqualified drivers get behind the wheel everyday. That should cause us the anxiety.

Speeding towards us.

Auto makers are pouring billions into these cars every year. Technology is following that money. Sensors, high-speed chips, cameras all around the car – this is where the technology is at, and accelerating fast. The more it floods the market, the cheaper it gets. That helps auto makers pack it into the everyday sedan.

The driving revolution.

Automakers are working on models that will gradually take human drivers out of the equation. The key is gradual. Over the next few years, the driver will watch in amazement as their vehicle quickly senses trouble and navigates out of it. They will watch the cruise control (which everyone already has) automatically keep the vehicle at a safe distance from all the other cars. And they will watch the car automatically brake, and shift lanes when necessary, requiring nothing of the driver.

Are you ready?

Maybe not. But without knowing it, you are well on your way!

 

Source: The Globe and Mail

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