Driver-Free Rides Are On The Horizon

Driver Free Rides in future

Driver-Free (aka Self-driving) cars are a subject of much debate. The idea is intriguing: a computer-operated vehicle that uses satellite maps, camera and sensor suites, and predictive analysis to shuttle its passengers without a human driver guiding it.

Some pessimists see these cars as dangerous, but practical people are reassured by the solid safety record of self-driven cars. Google’s concept cars have logged over one million miles of testing, the equivalent of 75 years of a typical US adult driving, with only 12 minor traffic accidents on record. Of those, everyone was caused by either another driver or an employee manually operating the car.

The need for this technology is pressing. Average drivers could have the option to use the self-driving feature as a reliable designated driver, letting the computer take over when they feel overtired or intoxicated. The CDC estimates that someone is injured every two minutes in an alcohol-related accident, and fatigue is the primary cause of more than a hundred thousand accidents a year. Removing these two serious factors in auto accidents would be a huge benefit to public health, making our roads a safer place for everyone.

As it stands, there are broader applications for automated cars. Think about your city and how far you live from your favorite grocery store, for example. Now imagine walking that distance with a week’s worth of groceries. Sound like a hassle? That imaginary hassle is a reality for people who can’t drive. Health problems such as visual impairment, severe diabetes, and epilepsy prevent a significant portion of America’s populace from driving themselves. Having access to a reliable self-driving car would help them stay independent in the American car culture that informs our cities

Chevy, always an innovator when it comes to technology, is right in line with the driverless trend. They announced earlier this year that they planned to invest $500 million in a strategic partnership with ride-sharing pioneer Lyft. At the North American International Auto Show last month General Motors President Dan Ammann specified that they’d like to make self-driving cars the focus of this venture. “The first Mainstream deployment of autonomous vehicles won’t be to customers but to a ride-share platform,” he told a fascinated crowd.

Don’t get too excited yet, Michigan residents. Ammann went on to explain that the pilot program will probably be in downtown Austin. If that test is successful, the program will expand to other cities

Chevy’s plan to use autonomous cars in conjunction with a ride-sharing program makes more sense when you consider it. These cars would be in use more than 60% of the time on average, compared to the 5% usage rates of an individual driver’s car. That adds up to a huge collection of specialized data about a city’s streets, habits, and potential hazards that will steadily increase the safety of future cars. In the beginning these vehicles won’t go faster than a prudent thirty miles an hour, but better information could have them travelling highway speeds with more reliability than human drivers.

Having a fully-outfitted Malibu as a robo-taxi would let passengers take full advantage of Chevy’s built-in Internet, too. You could get a lot more work done on the way to the airport with a real Wi-Fi hotspot instead of your phone’s data system. Plus, your Lyft profile could be used to customize your experience. Picture ordering a Lyft and having it arrive with your seat preset and your favorite radio station playing.

Sound exciting? We think so too! Come by Heidebreicht and test-drive the models that will soon be driving themselves.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *