Automakers have long promised the advent of driverless cars. But what exactly will these autonomous vehicles resemble?
Auto Trader, the UK’s premier digital car marketplace, recently unveiled concept designs of what vehicles of 30 years hence may look like. These self-driving vehicles will have sufficient space for passengers to work, relax or even sleep during their commutes.
Autonomous cars are becoming more and more prevalent. While self-driving vehicles still face numerous challenges, experts predict they’ll ultimately replace traditional ones as our go-to transportation choice. So how will this impact our daily lives?
Advanced autonomous vehicles don’t use gas and brake pedals; rather, they utilize various sensors to map their surroundings and navigate. Radar and video cameras help them spot obstacles; traffic lights are read; lanes marked and other vehicles detected; while laser and ultrasonic sensors help detect pedestrians or objects within their path.
Driverless cars could reduce car accidents. Traffic collisions cost $250 billion annually in economic activity, injuries, property damage, lost productivity and fatalities in the US alone; 94% of which result from human error causing collisions on our roads; eliminating this factor would make roads safer, reduce congestion and result in improved fuel efficiency while providing greater freedom and flexibility of travel for drivers and passengers alike. Experts warn however, that autonomous cars could create 1960s-like environments geared solely toward vehicles.
Electrification has taken root within the auto industry, with more consumers than ever opting to purchase electric vehicles (EVs), and many manufacturers committing solely to producing them. Some have even combined, acquired, or formed partnerships in order to remain at the forefront of the market.
As a result, electric vehicle sales are expected to overtake gasoline and diesel vehicle sales three years earlier than previously projected in Europe and the US, according to BNEF’s estimates. Furthermore, emerging technologies may reduce fuel consumption by as much as 50% by the 2050s, according to this projection.
However, one key challenge faced by these vehicles remains range anxiety. For drivers without access to a garage or who cover long distances regularly, being completely dependent on public charging stations makes driving inconvenient and inconvienceful. Furthermore, since recharging requires far more energy than filling up with gas does – this means the electric grid needs to become more energy-efficient and sustainable; which may require investments in renewable power sources such as wind or solar farms.
Governments around the globe are encouraging automobile manufacturers to produce low and zero tailpipe emission vehicles, prompting range extenders for battery electric vehicles (BEVs). These devices enable battery electric vehicles (BEVs) to maintain an adequate state of charge while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions.
A BEV’s controller 102 can process information to generate an optimal power usage plan for an upcoming journey. This information may come from internal memory or external sources; or extrapolate results of previous trips for extrapolation purposes. Furthermore, you may store telemetric data with a central server in order to continuously optimize its power usage plan.
This route-learning feature can significantly extend the range of BEVs by activating their range extenders when necessary and helping to prevent battery degradation and extend battery life, all while decreasing fuel consumption – an important consideration given that most household vehicles don’t regularly undertake long distance journeys.
Future cars could take the form of pod taxis – autonomous vehicles designed to shuttle people between destinations on demand. Constructed over existing highways, pods eliminate expensive road construction and maintenance expenses while being powered by solar energy to further decrease air pollution levels.
These pods utilize sensors to navigate around pedestrians, other vehicles and road debris safely and detect speed changes accordingly. You can hail one through mobile apps or physical digital paper touchscreens at stations.
Control is one of the primary challenges associated with autonomous driving technology, yet no clear answer exists as to who holds ultimate sway over whether vehicles transform into pods or remain single-ton metal boxes that spend most of their time sitting idle. Manufacturers will likely hold key sway over whether autonomous driving becomes reality in terms of support systems, software and hardware capabilities that enable this future technology.