What is Stopping Self-driving Cars from Taking over the Roads?

Auto Tech Outlook | Friday, April 29, 2022

Many companies, including Tesla, Google, Apple, and others, are developing their own autonomous driving technologies, and they are generally not cooperating to standardize the technology.

Fremont, CA: Cars are not yet capable of driving themselves. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has identified six levels of autonomy, ranging from 0 to 5. (full self-driving in all conditions). Level 1 technology, such as lane-keeping assistance and adaptive cruise control, is now standard in the majority of new cars. Level 2 systems, such as Tesla's Autopilot and General Motors' Super Cruise, allow the car to handle speed and steering while requiring the driver to pay close attention in case they need to take control.

Once the technology is in place, regulating self-driving cars will almost certainly remain a challenge. Industry and government must first define what self-driving means — if the SAE rules baffle you, you're not alone — and then establish safety standards. This entails resolving difficult ethical and liability issues, such as who is liable if a self-driving vehicle kills someone. Furthermore, automakers must persuade the public that self-driving cars are a viable option. According to AAA polls, more than 70 percent of Americans are worried about self-driving cars.

Regulation

Vehicles must always have a driver who is responsible for the vehicle, but self-driving technologies are tearing up the road code, forcing politicians to create new, more flexible rules while repealing or amending existing ones. Given the number of jurisdictions, this is easier said than done.

Lack of Standardization

One of the major impediments is the lack of industry uniformity. Many companies, including Tesla, Google, Apple, and others, are developing their own autonomous driving technologies, and they are generally not cooperating to standardize the technology.

Insurance

Another significant impediment to self-driving cars is insurance. Who will be held accountable? What does this mean for insurance? What steps are involved in determining liability? This necessitates yet another redesign of a system that was never intended to deal with the problem in the first place.

Sensor Limitations

In many ways, automotive sensors outperform human senses, and they don't need to have a blind spot or be limited to viewing only during daylight hours. Sensors, on the other hand, are not without flaws. Sensors can fail, and they are vulnerable to icing and bad weather. Another issue with self-driving technology is the creation of more reliable sensors with fail-safe mechanisms.

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