Automakers and Silicon Valley tech companies have pledged to deploy driverless cars in 2019. So far, however, driverless cars have been tested only in a limited number of U.S. cities. The first driverless cars are supposed to be deployed on public roads in U.S. cities in 2019. But with only a few final days left in 2019, the promises of carmakers and Silicon Valley tech companies are far from material.
Recent accidents involving self-driving cars, such as Tesla’s Autopilot, suggest that “technology is not yet mature,” said Dan Albert, a commentator and auto industry writer.
Mr Abbott questioned the optimistic publicity that self-driving cars would help reduce the number of deaths in traffic accidents, which in themselves cause fatal accidents. In the United States, 40,000 people die in traffic accidents every year, most of them human error.
So Albert argues that the self-driving operation of these vehicles is limited to parking, braking, starting or driving at low speeds in the parking lot.
Currently, driverless cars have carried out limited testing programs in only a few cities.
Dan Ammann, chief executive of Cruise, a self-driving car company, said: “When you’re deploying critical security systems at scale, the ‘fast-acting, breaking-the-line’ mindset certainly doesn’t work. ”
General Motors, Cruise’s parent company, has promised to launch a fleet of driverless cars in 2019.
Driverless shuttles are already available on certain routes on university campuses. For a year, Waymo, Google’s self-driving car division, has been offering waymo One, a self-driving taxi service in Phoenix, Arizona. However, the car is still equipped with a trained driver to control the car in an emergency.
Waymo is expanding the project. Since the summer, it has offered real driverless services in some of Phoenix’s suburbs, which are free at certain times in the afternoon or evening. Waymo also partners with ride-off app Lyft to expand into more areas
Sam Abuelsamid, an engineer and expert at Navigant Research, a self-driving technology company, said: “Automation could be used in specific areas such as closed campuses, where speeds are lower, driverless cars and other vehicles, pedestrians, Cyclists or bad weather are almost completely uninteracting. ”
The biggest problem, he says, is the vehicle’s “perception”: let on-board software process data sent by motion sensors to detect other vehicles, pedestrians, animals, cyclists or other objects, and then predict their possible movements and adjust accordingly.
‘This is the key to driverless ness, ‘ says Avideh Zakhor, a professor of engineering and computer science at the University of California, Berkeley.
“The perception part has not been resolved. The most advanced technology currently publicly available is 80 to 85 percent reliable. This means that in 15 per cent of cases the vehicle will hit the target, killing or destroying them,” she said.
Laws in about 40 U.S. states allow only testing of these vehicles. Industry insiders hope that the tens of thousands of kilometers of mileage accumulated by self-driving cars will reassure regulators that the technology is safe.
Regulators also need to adjust road signs to accommodate the deployment of driverless cars.
So when will driverless cars get on the road? Probably not for years to come. Aurora, a start-up specializing in self-driving, said: “In the next five years, we should see the deployment of driverless cars in certain areas. “The company has the support of Amazon and Fiat Chrysler.
But Abu Saamid of Navigant Research says driverless cars should soon be small- and small-scale.
“By the middle and late 2020s, we may see a limited number of driverless cars in several places, and the number of driverless cars will gradually increase after 2021,” he said. ”
Elon Musk, Tesla’s founder, said in late October that his car would automatically “drive from home to work, probably without human intervention”, but that it would “remain monitored.”
Critic Mr Abbott said Tesla may have been overblown. He warned that customers who paid $3,500 in advance for the promised fully autonomous driving feature “actually gave Tesla an interest-free loan”.