Some experts claim that we’ll have self-driving cars as early as 2019. Others say it might take a little longer. However, we believe that it all depends on how quickly these important auto technology issues get fixed:
1. Navigating Bad Weather: a Top Challenge for Self-Driving Automotive Technology
One of the biggest challenges for drivers today is navigating difficult weather. Rain, snow, and ice can all drastically change visibility, grip, and brake times. Even experienced drivers know that bad weather can be dangerous.
However, while experienced drivers know to pump the brakes to slow down during bad weather, self-driving cars are a little less quick to adapt. This is because snowy weather can make it difficult for sensors to see. And with road lines hidden by slush and snow, self-driving cars can have trouble staying in lanes.
That’s why many car companies are busy testing their automotive technology in bad weather. Here’s a look at Ford testing its self-driving tech in a Michigan winter:
2. Self-Driving Automotive Technology Needs to Be Glitch Free
In today’s digital age, we might regularly use smartphones, laptops, and even gaming consoles. We might even use them every day! But even with that regular use, many of these common technologies can crash or freeze every once in a while. If you’re playing a video game, a crash might be an annoying inconvenience, but if the tech in your car freezes that could be a much bigger problem.
That’s why self-driving auto technology needs to be perfectly glitch-free before autonomous cars can start hitting the road. They’ll also need to be completely secure from hackers. Otherwise, problems with faulty tech or hacking could lead to some big safety problems.
3. Ethics: A Major Concern Surrounding Autonomous Automotive Technology
Another top concern for professionals with automotive technology training is the ethics of putting a machine behind the wheel. Why? During an accident, for example, a driver might have to make a split second decision between two difficult choices. Does the driver swerve into the car in front of them and risk injuring its passengers, or turn into the sidewalk where it might hit a pedestrian?
As Tia Ghose of LiveScience points out “Those types of ethical dilemmas would require the software in a self-driving car to weigh all the different outcomes and come to a final solution on its own.”
Giving a machine that kind of autonomy and decision would be crossing an important line in ethics that we haven’t done yet. But, before self-driving cars can truly drive on our streets, that issue will need to be addressed.
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