Talk to automakers, transportation experts, and car enthusiasts, there’s universal agreement that self-driving cars are the wave of the future. Because the technology is there for them to be built, it’s not so much a matter of if they will hit the car buying market en masse, but when.
Where there still appears to be some debate, however, is what driverless vehicles ought to include. The answer depends on who you ask.
Based on a recent poll performed by researchers from Carnegie Mellon, there’s a dividing line between millennials and baby boomers regarding what they’d like to see self-driving cars provide for consumers.
For example, among millennials – people between 18 and 24 years of age – the top response was for cars to have virtual valet capabilities and a visual display of car safety features. While for baby boomers, they favored wanting their cars to find parking spots in crowded lots.
The respective generations also viewed things differently as far as what they would like to do in their vehicles while their cars take the steering wheel for them. People 18 to 24 said they’d either eat or work, while baby boomers said they’d read.
The full details of the report can be found at Carnegie Mellon University’s website.
Google plans to bring driverless car to market
The driverless vehicle market is really revving up, as a number of well-known companies have given indications that they’ll be taking a spin in the sector. Bloomberg reported that Internet search engine conglomerate Google is in the midst of launching its own driverless car program, one that would compete with ride-sharing service provider Uber. The San Francisco, California-based taxi services company is said to be developing a driverless automobile at its own research facility, though specific details on how far its advanced have been under wraps.
What’s preventing the self-driving vehicle market from kicking into high speed is how it will all be regulated, not knowing what the effect it will have on motorists’ safety. Some believe that it will help cut accident rates significantly, perhaps by as much as 90 percent.
“Whether we’re talking about automated features in cars today or fully automated vehicles of the future, our top priority is to ensure these vehicles – and their occupants – are safe,” said former Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in 2013. “Our research covers all levels of automation, including advances like automatic braking that may save lives in the near term, while the recommendations to states help them better oversee self-driving vehicle development, which holds promising long-term safety benefits.”
The know-how and technology is in place. How quickly driverless cars come to a neighborhood near you will ultimately be decided by consumers’ demand and regulators giving the green light.