The road to an autonomous future: within reach, or a tantalizing mirage?
Story by Kevin Roberts for Automative World.
The rapid rate of innovation on technologies such as artificial intelligence has shifted the narrative regarding autonomous vehicles (AVs) from whether such vehicles are even possible, to how fast companies can bring commercially viable AVs to market. Complicating matters is COVID-19 and the impact on how people view mobility going forward; there are now serious questions regarding the long-term prospects of mass transit and shared mobility. The question now has become: can the AV be a solution to these challenges or will it be a casualty before it even launches?
The biggest case for an AV is safety. While human drivers have been improving with regard to safety over the intervening decades, helped largely by technology advancements, there remain far too many traffic fatalities. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that in 2016 there were 1.35 million road traffic deaths globally; that averages out to around 3,700 people killed daily. The US Department of Transportation estimates that 94% of all serious motor vehicle crashes involved a driver-related factor, with the remainder being caused by environmental or technical issues. We could effectively reduce that number to near zero with AVs...
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Automotive World’s latest special report 'What’s the timeline for autonomous vehicles?', discusses the challenges facing automakers, suppliers and other parties seeking to launch autonomous vehicles.