The race to develop fully autonomous vehicles is underway, as automakers fostering new relationships with technology companies. Many drivers still don’t like the idea of self-driving cars on public roadways, but automation may disrupt trucks and delivery industries first anyway.
Autonomous is receiving a boost from the current COVID-19 pandemic, with consumer attitudes regards public transit continuing to evolve. With so many people willing to wait and see how AV research develops, this might just be a good opportunity to launch some new projects. The trucking industry is expected to receive a major shakeup from autonomous solutions, while public transit could be next-in-line.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently announced a new effort to build a dedicated corridor designed solely for connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) traffic. The state is promoting itself as a “global leader in mobility innovation,” and believes it has the chance to “drive this evolution in the production of vehicles but also in the very roads they drive on,” according to a statement from Trevor Pawl, Michigan chief mobility officer.
During a test while driving 4,000 miles with active driver assistance, the American Automobile Association (AAA) average a problem every eight miles driven. In its report, the vehicle technology drove too close to guardrails or other vehicles, random automated steering connection problems, and other potentially dangerous problems. Cars from Ford, Cadillac, Subaru, and Kia were used in the group’s experiment.
Autonomous vehicles are becoming more dependable, but there are still plenty of reports highlighting various problems. However, the confusion related to regulatory and safety compliance alone is a complex matter, with public safety a concern. Further complicating matters, the AV industry is fragmented, with each company interested in pushing their own interpretation of possible guidelines.
Automakers are expected to continue pumping billions of dollars towards research and development – and urban planners see great benefit from the roll out of autonomous vehicles. Lawmakers are still scrambling to figure how to implement current AV laws, while also considering future mass adoption.
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