Rapid technological developments in the automotive industry continue to push self-driving vehicles one step closer to open roads. Multiple programs have progressed from the initial research & development phase one step closer to commercial release.
Even though the advancements might not occur as fast as some analysts would like, there are glaring safety issues that cannot be ignored. Furthermore, trying to entice regular citizens to the positives of autonomous technology also is taking time to develop.
As noted by Jesse Halfon, a Michigan automotive attorney, in a statement to the San Francisco Chronicle: “Machine learning did not advance as rapidly as (proponents) thought it would. It seems like industry-wide there is a consensus that (mass deployment) will take longer than thought.”
Currently, there are dispersed testing programs as companies and automakers work with states to create safe road testing strategies. Determining how to improve road safety and vehicle efficiency for self-driving cars and trucks remains a challenging obstacle, with numerous legislative and insurance hurdles that must be addressed.
In addition, trying to determine the real-world purpose of self-driving vehicles is something that appears easy, but is a challenge for developers. Many drivers – and possible passengers – think the vehicles being tested are more for entertainment but should see more applicable use for commercial purposes. Earlier in the year, Waymo and Daimler announced a partnership to bring Waymo self-driving technology to select Daimler semi-trucks, as both companies push forward to create new fleets of driverless trucks.
Successfully creating a trust factor between humans and AVs will require constant nurturing that will take time. In fact, 48 percent of Americans “would never get in a taxi or ride-share vehicle that was being driven autonomously,” according to a Partners for Automated Vehicle Education (PAVE) survey in early 2020.
AV technology backers must launch public education campaigns to help share knowledge about current industry trends – and safety measures, along with results from public tests from across the world.
Mass adoption of AVs on public roads will not be possible without trust nurtured between the public and the technology. The driving public will need to see that the technology is safe, driven by proper communication from lawmakers and technology developers.
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