Cars have been becoming more futuristic as the years go by. Many cars have a global positioning system installed, cameras in the back to let you know if you’re getting to close to another car or object and even “push to start” technology.
So, what’s next? Many have heard word of the “driverless” Google car, but is there really any future in the autonomous vehicle?
What is the future of driverless cars?
If the several car companies that are “testing” the new driverless vehicles can be believed, the future may be occurring now. In fact, the autonomous cars may be integrated into traffic within the decade.
Ford announced on Friday that it would be testing driverless cars in Mcity, Michigan. Mcity is a fake metropolis in Ann Harbor, Michigan. The fake city is a collaboration of Ford and University of Michigan and Michigan state’s Department of Transportation. Ford, which originated in Detroit, will not be the only car manufacturer to use Mcity to test its driverless cars. It is one of many companies that have poured more than $1 million into the 32-acre testing grounds.
“We’ve been testing [autonomous] cars in the real world, but using a place like Mcity will allow us to refine our algorithms and better calibrate car sensors by repeating specific situations in a reliable way,” Ford’s vice president of global product development Raj Nair said.
Google’s driverless car
Although manufacturers that have been making cars for generations are taking a chance at creating these autonomous cars, a company that has never manufactured a car before is also taking a wack at it. Google is probably the most popular company to have tried out its driverless car.
Its driverless car has been tested for about seven years in California and Texas and recently made news when one of the company’s driverless cars was pulled over. The company’s car was not cited for anything during the pull. In fact, the car was going 24 in a 35 mph zone. It may have been that the officer was just a tad bit curious.
“Driving too slowly? Bet humans don’t get pulled over for that too often,” the company wrote in a Google Plus post. “After 1.2 million miles of autonomous driving (that’s the human equivalent of 90 years of driving experience), we’re proud to say we’ve never been ticketed!”
Will Apple join the driverless car race?
There have been rumors that Apple would also join the driverless car market. The company, largely known for its computers and the iPhone, is rumored to be setting up a testing ground like Mcity just outside of San Francisco. However, it seems that Google’s efforts will likely reach the finish line first, as they have been at it the longest.
Google claims its driverless cars will be on the market within the next five years. Some people are worried about what the driverless cars will do to transportation.
Because roads are already congested, what will happen once no one actually has to sit in traffic? “If single-occupancy vehicles are the bane of our congested highways and cities right now, imagine the congestion when we pour in unfettered zero-occupancy vehicles,” said Robin Chase, the former CEO of Zipcar.
The technology may also be bad news for lower income people and those who rely on public transportation. Even if driverless cars provide cheaper services than taxis or Ubers, they will likely be more expensive than a monthly unlimited card.
However, some people are saying that the rise of the driverless cars have the potential to lessen traffic if they do not compete with the already-existing auto market.
At the very least, the autonomous cars will provide a different perspective about the way people think about transportation and the change will likely be within the next few years. The future is here.