autonomous trucks

Self Driving Cars

The Jetsons broadcast into American living rooms in 1962. The futuristic cartoon was based on how we all might be living in 2062. Flying cars, housecleaning robots and video calls…hmmm… looks like we’re right on track. Motor Trend listed the Buick as the best car of 1962, which came standard with an AM radio.  

Twenty years later Night Rider was created in 1982, by this point, cars had advanced to include AM/FM radios and tape players.  

Today our vehicles are essentially equal parts computer/machine. A voice command can start off verbal directions to anywhere, a beep tells us we’re too close to another car or object and can hit the breaks for us. We’re currently to some degree co-piloting with our cars. It makes absolute sense that the next level of auto-evolution would be self-driving cars which ironically rename the dash, the cockpit.

A recent Verge article asks and answers the question, where are the autonomous cars?  As it turns out, the technology is here, though the profit is not. Much like the manufacturing of fast cars has an extremely small American market due to the still remaining popularity of large vehicles, self-driving cars fall into the same category. They’re small.

The article continues to include a few urban locations where these cars are being tested on real streets in real traffic, more specifically for use of delivering products and people.

Google Lexus Self-Driving Car

Google Lexus Self-Driving Car

Either way, the race is still on to bring the car of the future into our driveways sooner than later. Tesla, General Motors, Ford, Toyota, and even Kia are all digging their mechanical and software engineering heels into the starting line. According to Market Watch, we’re ready and set, GO however is not expected to happen for another 15-20 years.

For many of us, that’s a crushed dream of anxiety-free parallel parking and nap to work wishes. For most, however, we’re psychologically not so sure about the idea. A report compiled by AAA in 2016 found that 75% of people are afraid of letting their car do the driving; although psychologists feel it will be a fairly easy fear to defeat. Somehow we all got over the Computerphobia of the 1980’s, we’ll likely do the same with our phobia about self-driving cars in the 2030’s. 

In the meantime, we can expect to see more and more cars with self-driving aspects such as self-steering and breaking. Phasing into trusting our car to do all the driving might just be the best way to go. 

Guest Blogger: Allison Green

 

 

Autonomous Vehicles – Pros & Cons

Small and large Automakers in 2017 are making impressive progress toward offering fully autonomous vehicles.  There are pros and cons to this new amazing technology that many of us anticipate with excitement and some with dread and uncertainty. We will begin with the cons and end with the pros.

First of all, many people are worried about their jobs. The Insurance Journal reports that as many as four million truck, bus, delivery and taxi driving jobs could be lost if fully autonomous vehicle technology is adopted in a short period of time, according to a new report (Center for Global Policy Solutions (CGPS).  US states where workers have the most to lose when the new technology is adopted:  North Dakota, Idaho, Wyoming, West Virginia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Iowa and Indiana. 

Driving jobs in these states offer the highest wages in comparison to non-driving jobs and when fully autonomous vehicles take hold it could leave a very serious economic toll. To learn more about the 2017 CGPS study visit the Insurance Journal.

Fully autonomous vehicles are not likely to hit the roadways anytime soon as coordination efforts between government, insurance and automakers must be scrutinized and enacted in accordance to hammered over policies and regulations. 

The Daimler Freightliner Inspiration, a self-driving long-haul truck, is seen during an event at the Hoover Dam, May 5, 2015, near Boulder City, Nev.  John Locher/AP

The Daimler Freightliner Inspiration, a self-driving long-haul truck, is seen during an event at the Hoover Dam, May 5, 2015, near Boulder City, Nev.  John Locher/AP

In 2017 most manufacturers are creating cars/trucks with partial autonomous control but not completely driverless control. The Inspiration Truck by Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) is the first licensed autonomous commercial truck to operate on an open public highway in the U.S. called a level 3 autonomous vehicle where the trucker is still largely in control. Discover the videos that bring to life this cutting edge first commercial autonomous truck on US Highways.

General Motors Executive, Gier, reports that:  “In 2017, we’ll launch our Super Cruise feature, which keeps you centered in your lane and lets you take your hands off the steering wheel,” he said. That development will position the automotive industry at the brink of what he terms Level 3 in the progression toward vehicle autonomy.   

From GM – Detroit: On the heels of the signing of the SAVE Act legislation to support autonomous vehicle testing and deployment in Michigan, General Motors will immediately begin testing autonomous vehicles on public roads. GM also announced it will produce the next generation of its autonomous test vehicles at its Orion Township assembly plant beginning in early 2017. Discover more at their media page.  

Volvo plans to make their autonomous model by 2020 — in 2017 they will be testing 100 cars on China's public roads.  This is the largest test to date and will include Chinese citizen volunteers.  Per Volvo:

"Even in a self-driving car, you’re always in control when you want to be. You can mix and match your journey with both autonomous and active driving. And there is no doubt that Autopilot driving technology has the potential to improve road safety dramatically, helping Volvo Cars to reach its goal that nobody should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo by 2020.

For instance, the all-new Volvo XC90 has automatic braking at intersections—so if you turn in front of an oncoming vehicle, the car will apply the brakes for you."  Click here to discover more from Volvo’s dynamic videos and site content.  

With more than 30 companies working diligently on this life changing technology the future is bright for automakers.  For us average joes the new technology promises to save many lives but also the loss of many future jobs. 

The Insurance Journal states that U.S. regulators are encouraging development of automated vehicle systems to reduce traffic accidents that annually kill more than 30,000 people. Regulatory and legal issues with self- driving cars, such as liability in accidents, have yet to be addressed.

Learn more about autonomous vehicles and the promising progress made by the major players, such as Tesla, Ford, GM, Google, Volvo and Uber: 

See BusinessInsider.com to discover the 7 self-driving car milestones to look out for in 2017.

For more details check out Driverless-Car Market Watch.