We have to admit that we are developing a slight case of whiplash from watching recent surveys of opinions about autonomous cars. Some surveys report that very few drivers are attracted to self-driving cars, while others report just the opposite. Perhaps opinions are varied because drivers don’t yet understand what self-driving cars really are and what they can do.
“Here is What the Future Looks Like in a World of Self-Driving Cars,” an article that Venky Ganesan wrote for AlleyWatch.com on October 7, is a real eye-opener. Ganesan points out four major ways that the world will change if self-driving cars become commonplace.
Sam Schmidt, a professional driver, lost the ability to control his arms and legs following an accident in a race. But he will now be able to drive on public roads again, thanks to a special quadriplegic driver’s license that was issued to him by the state of Nevada.
If a 26-year-old entrepreneur named George Hotz has his way, it will soon be possible to buy a $1,000 kit on Amazon Prime that will convert your car into an autonomous self-driver. How soon? By the end of the year.
Steering, accelerating, braking, parking and avoiding collisions are all abilities that self-driving cars are learning. But now something else has been added to the list of what autonomous cars are supposed to be. They are supposed to have good road etiquette and be “polite.”
Two big news stories broke on September 20, 2016. The first was that the DOT had issued a new policy about self-driving cars. The second was that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were getting divorced. Which story got more coverage? The story about autonomous cars, at least on the news outlets that I monitor. Apparently they are even sexier than Brad and Angie.
The Federal Automated Vehicles Policy, released on September 21 by the U.S. Department of Transportation, is a 116-page document that has the potential to shape the cars we own, the roads we drive on, competition in the automotive industry, and lots more.
What kind of automotive projects are being funded by the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Project Agency for Energy (Arpa-E)? If you scroll through a list of the projects, you’ll see that most of them have to do with the development of new automotive fuels and batteries.