Driverless Autonomous Cars. The Future of Driving?

Driverless car(Creative Commons License – Photo courtesy of Steve Jurvetson)

Will Driverless Cars become a Reality?

Well it might be a while before we see the motorways full of driverless cars, meaning that we can watch a movie, study, perhaps even surf the internet, as we are driven by the computerised cars we will one day own.

Also known by the terms ‘Autonomous Cars’, these vehicles are now being tested on American and British roads and the question you might also be asking, if when will we see such vehicles on roads in cities such as Bristol, England? You may have heard stories in the media recently such as the Google test  car which crashed into a bus. Some reports list the UK as the leader in the development of driverless cars and the race is certainly on within the automotive and technology fields, to come up with the first real mass produced car of this kind.

These types of cars do look like being a reality and the UK, USA, Japan and Australia are all at the fore-front of this exciting technoligical race. It might surprise and even scare you to know that 44 tonne trucks have already been used in testing on UK roads.

Driverless Cars and Future Cities

The future of introduction as you can see, seems all but inevitable and for those of you who find driving a chore, this is an exciting move in terms of transportation and technology.

Who will Design the First Mass Produced Autonomous Car

There is little that Google are not involved with these days, so if you are a betting man or woman, you would be brave to bet against Google being the first company to develop the first mass produced driverless car. Google have invested significant amounts of money into autonomous cars and they have been testing various models for the last 7 years (and on public roads since 2012).

China though is a country which is pushing forward with their own attempt at taking this market by storm and two companies, ‘Letv’ and ‘Great Wall Motors’ have invested heavily. Great wall Motors have in fact opened a research center in Silicon Valley, USA, and allocating significant resources to the push for the first mass produced driverless car. The race is very much on!

Tesla are a company you will hear named very often in the discourse surrounding autonomous cars, with Tesla already one of the leaders in smart car technologies and navigation. Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, has been widely quoted in the media in fact, stating that by or in 2018, that their driverless car will be fully ready. Tesla have an excellent track record and could well be the ones to watch.

Apple have decided to also get involved in this market and have allocated a couple of thousand staff to developing their own model. Little is known about Apple’s success in this market so it is difficult to assess their progress.

Driverless Cars in the UK

My own belief is that we can expect to be driving around cities such as Bristol, Cardiff, London and Plymouth around 2025. Testing, regulatory changes and redesign I think will mean that time will be needed for all considerations over safety and design can be fully explored and covered.

I do though expect to see driverless cars in the future. Autonomous cars seem almost inevitable in the future!

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