Autonomous Vehicles – Pros & Cons

Small and large Automakers in 2017 are making impressive progress toward offering fully autonomous vehicles.  There are pros and cons to this new amazing technology that many of us anticipate with excitement and some with dread and uncertainty. We will begin with the cons and end with the pros.

First of all, many people are worried about their jobs. The Insurance Journal reports that as many as four million truck, bus, delivery and taxi driving jobs could be lost if fully autonomous vehicle technology is adopted in a short period of time, according to a new report (Center for Global Policy Solutions (CGPS).  US states where workers have the most to lose when the new technology is adopted:  North Dakota, Idaho, Wyoming, West Virginia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Iowa and Indiana. 

Driving jobs in these states offer the highest wages in comparison to non-driving jobs and when fully autonomous vehicles take hold it could leave a very serious economic toll. To learn more about the 2017 CGPS study visit the Insurance Journal.

Fully autonomous vehicles are not likely to hit the roadways anytime soon as coordination efforts between government, insurance and automakers must be scrutinized and enacted in accordance to hammered over policies and regulations. 

 The Daimler Freightliner Inspiration, a self-driving long-haul truck, is seen during an event at the Hoover Dam, May 5, 2015, near Boulder City, Nev.  John Locher/AP

The Daimler Freightliner Inspiration, a self-driving long-haul truck, is seen during an event at the Hoover Dam, May 5, 2015, near Boulder City, Nev.  John Locher/AP

In 2017 most manufacturers are creating cars/trucks with partial autonomous control but not completely driverless control. The Inspiration Truck by Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) is the first licensed autonomous commercial truck to operate on an open public highway in the U.S. called a level 3 autonomous vehicle where the trucker is still largely in control. Discover the videos that bring to life this cutting edge first commercial autonomous truck on US Highways.

General Motors Executive, Gier, reports that:  “In 2017, we’ll launch our Super Cruise feature, which keeps you centered in your lane and lets you take your hands off the steering wheel,” he said. That development will position the automotive industry at the brink of what he terms Level 3 in the progression toward vehicle autonomy.   

From GM – Detroit: On the heels of the signing of the SAVE Act legislation to support autonomous vehicle testing and deployment in Michigan, General Motors will immediately begin testing autonomous vehicles on public roads. GM also announced it will produce the next generation of its autonomous test vehicles at its Orion Township assembly plant beginning in early 2017. Discover more at their media page.  

Volvo plans to make their autonomous model by 2020 — in 2017 they will be testing 100 cars on China's public roads.  This is the largest test to date and will include Chinese citizen volunteers.  Per Volvo:

"Even in a self-driving car, you’re always in control when you want to be. You can mix and match your journey with both autonomous and active driving. And there is no doubt that Autopilot driving technology has the potential to improve road safety dramatically, helping Volvo Cars to reach its goal that nobody should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo by 2020.

For instance, the all-new Volvo XC90 has automatic braking at intersections—so if you turn in front of an oncoming vehicle, the car will apply the brakes for you."  Click here to discover more from Volvo’s dynamic videos and site content.  

With more than 30 companies working diligently on this life changing technology the future is bright for automakers.  For us average joes the new technology promises to save many lives but also the loss of many future jobs. 

The Insurance Journal states that U.S. regulators are encouraging development of automated vehicle systems to reduce traffic accidents that annually kill more than 30,000 people. Regulatory and legal issues with self- driving cars, such as liability in accidents, have yet to be addressed.

Learn more about autonomous vehicles and the promising progress made by the major players, such as Tesla, Ford, GM, Google, Volvo and Uber: 

See BusinessInsider.com to discover the 7 self-driving car milestones to look out for in 2017.

For more details check out Driverless-Car Market Watch.

 

Autonomous Vehicles Will Decrease Deaths on U.S. Roadways

Autonomous vehicles will significantly decrease deaths on American roadways because mainly human vision is about 30 meters forward whereas the LIDAR system that are sensors that Google utilizes in the Google car can actually see a whopping 300 meters ahead.  Unfortunately, according to studies, humans are the main reason for more than 99% of all car accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 38,000 Americans were killed on U.S. roads last year. Administrator, Mark Rosekind, from the NHTSA remarked, “That is unacceptable.”

Photo: Courtesy of Google

At the 2-day telematics conference in Detroit Rosekind’s comments to 3,000 representatives of automakers, technology companies, government agencies and insurers at the conference may be the latest signal that regulators aren’t expecting an accident-free future, just a reduction in the number of severe, deadly wrecks.

Autonomous vehicles will be mandatory and many regulations and standards must be put into place regarding the automotive industry, insurance and legal aspects that arise from accidents. http://goo.gl/TrNbSx

Speaking of accidents, a few weeks ago the first autonomous car crash killed a man when he was driving into fierce, bright sunlight and the software fatally failed and passed under a semi-truck. The car kept going after passing under the truck and crashed through 2 fences and into a light pole.  Tesla made a 537 word statement about the crash.

The first paragraph notes that this was Tesla’s first known autopilot death in some 130 million miles driven by its customers. “Among all vehicles in the US, there is a fatality every 94 million miles,” the company then notes.  It goes on to say that the car’s autonomous software is designed to nudge consumers to keep their hands on the wheels to make sure they’re paying attention. “Autopilot is getting better all the time, but it is not perfect and still requires the driver to remain alert,” the company said. See more on Tesla’s statement here:  https://goo.gl/YqDJo9

Other test drivers of the Tesla have noticed issues when driving into bright sunlight.  The gentleman, Joshua Brown, who was driving that fateful day was someone who supported Tesla and posted many videos regarding his autonomous driving experiences. https://youtu.be/5TjbqVartjM

“As collisions in the future will be dealing with the failure in the design, manufacture and maintenance of vehicles, we can expect that the insurance industry will look to product liability and/or service failure, whether hardware- or software-related, not driver error, as the primary means to manage the risk of collisions,” Michael Teitelbaum, a partner Hughes Amys LLP, told seminar attendees during a subsequent panel discussion. http://goo.gl/i04dsd

There will also be legal ramifications regarding accidents that must be worked out and the legal experts still have many questions to ultimately come up with solutions.  To learn more about the insurance and legal ramifications click here.  

Mercedes-Benz Self Driving Rave VAN!

How about a self driving Rave Van with Hologram technology? A cross between a limo and a luxury bus - what's next in the world of self-driving indulgence?  Only time will tell as new auto concepts of self driving vehicles continue to dazzle us with curiosity and anticipation for arrival! The Rave Van may be the most awesome concept that we have seen so far in this journey to self driving magnificence!  

Mercedes Benz Tokyo Concept - Self Driving Rave Van could literally be a game changer when it comes to enjoying the party on the road.  Nightclub ambiance will exude the interior and exterior of the van with an out of this world space age appearance.   The entertainment system will be completely controlled by 3D Holograms!  Soft glowing led lights will line the perforated seats. The front part of the van will offer cozy, spacious, convenience by simply stowing away the drivers seat while the worry free former driver entertains the guest.

How about the power behind the rave?  Hybrid hydrogen fuel-cell system drives the van to travel over 600 miles before refills with zero emissions.   To top it all off,  massive 26-inch wheels that spin around glowing wheel hubs will give this ride all the attention it will deserve.