Your car may be able to drive itself very soon. Innovations in auto development have changed the face of manufacture and production for self driving cars, also known as autonomous, driverless, and robotic cars, are currently being developed and even tested on roadways. Although the concept might seem to some like something from a science fiction novel, it may not be too long in the future before we see cars on the road without a driver.
Government Regulations – The First Step?
For example, Nevada has become the first state to recently outline regulations for testing self-driven cars on public roadways, and other states like Florida and Hawaii have been considering this for some time now as well. Even though the technology is not close to road-ready according to the Nevada guidelines, the state’s acknowledgement of this technology has been a big step in the direction of realizing the realistic implications of driverless cars. With the innovative self-driving technology, Nevada has claimed that it wants to be ahead of the curve for this auto invention, and may very well be one of the first states to allow driverless cars on the road.
Auto driven car technology could be an especially useful improvement for people with limited mobility due to disability. Right now the car modifications that people with paralysis or another physical limitation can use to help them drive are clunky and awkward to install and operate. The difficulty of operating the current car modifications can be dangerous at times, and limits the type of car that people with the machinery can use, since it often takes mechanics a lot of extra space and tedious bodywork to install them correctly. If more self driving cars were on the market, it would improve the outlook of mobility, independence, and also the safety for drivers with a disability. It would also increase the variety of car options for people with disabilities.
Eliminate the Humans, Eliminate the Error
There is also a chance that this new technology could decrease the amount of human error that causes so many accidents per year. Because one of the largest reasons for death in the United States comes from vehicle related collisions, taking the burden off of drivers who are easily distracted, may not see an obstacle or oncoming vehicle, or who may fall asleep at the wheel. Human error does cause accidents, and sometimes people who are either too young to drive, aging and struggling to keep up with their vision and auditory response, or who are unprepared because of sleep deprivation, stress, and a myriad of other factors are more of a menace on the road than anything else, because they are unable to operate their vehicle vigilantly.
Not Exactly New
Although the technology for autonomous and driverless robot cars may seem pretty outlandish, or even frightening, it is a very established idea that has just taken time to develop. In fact, the first documented attempt at robotic and driverless car design occurred as early as 1939, when Norman Belle Geddes exhibited his inventions at the Futurama exhibit from the World’s Fair. The technology has been developing ever since then, with the largest players in the automotive industry, like General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, and even the US government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) participating in research and innovation to study and push forward the technology. Google has even recently created their own driverless car model.
In the not-so-distant future, we may see cars driving on the roads by themselves, taking our neighbors’ children to school, dropping off the grandparents at their doctors’ appointments, increasing the flexibility of automobile usage for all people, decreasing accident rates, and advancing the automotive industry into the future. Robotic car technology has been around for decades, but we may finally get to see it come to fruition during our lifetime.
Ellen Cho is a freelance writer who works for InsuranceSwami.com a service provider of online car insurance quotes.