Autonomous Vehicles – Where Do We Stand?

It is now and happening. Fully autonomous cars will soon be out of the garage. Many companies are striking a deal with Aurora Innovations; a venture co-founded by Chris Urmson and will soon introduce Autonomous vehicles to the market. Urmson says “The planned autonomous vehicles will include fully self-driving pods, shuttles or delivery vans and self-driving trucks without a cabin”. Aurora has signed deals with both Volkswagen and Hyundai and will soon launch autonomous vehicle in about three years.


Volkswagen and Hyundai are to bring out more than 15 million vehicles every year and are planning to integrate Aurora’s software and sensors which is an artificial intelligence technology. This will change the way we look at transportation.


How does the technology work?

Toyota has installed a technology called LIDAR which uses lasers to determine its surroundings. Just like the principle of a bat or sonar, the lasers shoot out, hit the objects around and bounce back to the sensors to determine the surrounding. The technology works by combining software and sensors to control, navigate, and drive the vehicle. Based on these, the vehicle creates an internal map of the surroundings and the software process these inputs and decides on a path and sends information to the actuators which control the steering, acceleration, and braking.

What renders a feeling of safety is that it uses hardcore codes, predictive modeling, and can know the difference between a truck and motorcycle. These help the vehicle to follow traffic and navigate through obstacles. Humans are great drivers, but on the contrary, machines are better at following rules.


Where we are now?

Companies like Mercedes, BMW, and Tesla already have several autonomous vehicles with self-driving features. Google has a self-driving car project called Waymo that hit the streets in 2009 and claims to make driving less stressful and roadways safer. Car making giants Volkswagen and Hyundai say their self-driven cars will be out on roads by 2021. Volkswagen Chief Digital Officer Johann Jungwirth says that it is part of “the reinvention of mobility and the automobile.”

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Volkswagen said that it would be associating with Silicon Valley Company Aurora to create self-driven cars and hopes to launch a fleet of cabs in the streets by 2021. “With Aurora, VW gains access to an experienced and globally leading development team in software and hardware for driverless vehicles,” the Wolfsburg-based group said in a statement.


What do they mean to the future of transportation?

Soon our roads will be swarming with vehicles that don’t have a driver to maneuver it. It is estimated that by 2020 almost 10 million cars will be on the road. While looking out for any pedestrians or obstacles, these autonomous vehicles can detect road signs, follow traffic signals and keep track of other vehicles with the use of video cameras. We can imagine people and goods being traveled around without a driver. You choose the destination and sit back and relax and even drink a cup of coffee while you are on the run. Trucks will be delivering goods to the destination in no time as the driver needn’t take rest in between. But a negative impact of this is that many drivers will lose their jobs. Although at present the trucks are not fully automated but have facilities similar to an autopilot function in an airplane.


Dubai has recently tried out an air drone in collaboration with Volocopter. The mission is to call an air taxi just like you would book a ride in Uber. Amazon is been given a patent to try out drones that can deliver in 30 minutes and even recharge itself by connecting to an electric car.


Autonomous Vehicles are the future of automotive industry. Even though we have seen a vivid image of them in movies, in reality, we are far behind. But we are we on the right track. Keep in touch with us to the latest updates that are happening in the autonomous vehicle industry.


Autonomous Vehicles – How Will It Change Public Transportation

It is said that autonomous vehicles are the future of transportation. There won’t be much time before autonomous vehicles take on the road and become a part of public transportation.

However, there is concern that it might lead to road congestion as more and more people resort to riding them. On the other hand, if they are used for public transport then autonomous vehicles can solve every bit of traffic problems that ever existed.


Using autonomous driving for public transport is not only cost efficient but also a way to avoid mishaps like harsh driving or inefficient fuel usage.

Autonomous vehicles are inevitably going to change a lot of things for everyone around. Here are some things that will happen when autonomous vehicles take over public transportation:

1. Less Traffic

While a few people argue that it might increase traffic, many believe that it will solve all traffic problems.

Even buses and trucks will work on the technology and will completely take road accidents out of the picture. It will also reduce traffic congestion because the vehicles will be able to drive side by side, without dashing into one another.

And apparently, since computers are better drivers than humans and are more systematic too, there won’t be random fights because one wasn’t driving well.

It is excellent news for the government since they’ll cover up the one percent gross domestic profit they lose because of traffic.

2. Shift in Ownership Model

A likely ownership model that might come along with the entry of autonomous vehicles is shared ownership model. Multiple people will own the same autonomous vehicle and will replace the private ownership model.

However, you can’t be confident enough that this will happen because every person who can afford will try to own an autonomous vehicle exclusively. This is where the government might need to step in and start some tax rebate for people sharing cars.

3. No More Driving Long Distances

Remember the time you drove for six hours straight and couldn’t feel your legs after getting out of the car?

Well, once autonomous vehicles are a reality, you wouldn’t have to worry about that. You can eat, watch movies, or sleep while the self-driving car takes you to your destination.

Also, it will cover a six-hour distance much faster than you, so you end up saving a lot of time.

4. Maybe an Urban Nightmare

It can be an urban nightmare if every family buys an autonomous car and go around shopping and on trips, it will only cause traffic congestion.

Since these vehicles will be electronics, it will cost a lot lower than fuel-based cars. People won’t have to spend money on refilling gasoline. All they will need to do is charge it overnight and they’ll be good to travel around.

The cost comes down a lot and is a one-time investment. People will be ready to put money at once. If anything goes as the situation described, then traffic will increase by 25 percent than right now.

5. Will Not be a Supplement

Autonomous vehicles aren’t a replacement for traffic congestion because it wouldn’t change much. More and more people will switch to autonomous vehicles for its low cost.

However, one can confidently say that self-driving cars will significantly reduce road accidents and increase safety.

Governments should start supplementing with autonomous vehicles at public transportation level. But they can’t expect that it will be a solution to all their traffic problems.

6. Combination of Sharing Services

Apart from sharing ownership of autonomous cars, ride-sharing like Uber and car-sharing scheme will take over the majority of the road. People won’t find it necessary to own a car when services like ride-sharing cost a lot lower than it does now.

What do Experts Think About Autonomous Vehicles

Christy Wegener, planning and operations director, LAVTA, feels that no one exactly knows the future. People are making assumptions and developing theories as they experiment and find new things.

They are as unknown to the technology as everyone else. Wegener said that there is fixed roadmap or tutorial to do it, so unless it is a reality, nothing much can’t be talked about it.

However, Wegener is confident about taking risks, and she praised the head of LAVTA for going ahead with the idea.

Government’s Take on It

One of the reasons LAVTA hasn’t tested its autonomous vehicle technology on the roads if because the federal government hasn’t given them the authority to do so.

Along with LAVTA, many other companies are stuck in the same situation including CCTA. They are waiting for the US House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit to give them the approval.

Both companies only have two options. One is getting a waiver from the US Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Other is they don’t need any waiver to do so. Just recently, the House Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection subcommittee announced that they pushed the US government to clear the guidelines as that would permit driverless vehicles to debut on the road.

In the end, as common people, we all are very excited about watching this new technology development. As millennials, we’ve seen the internet become a reality, watched a Nokia phone grow into a full-screen touch smartphone, and now autonomous vehicles.

Public transit is every city’s backbone and developing it gives everyone an opportunity to experience science at its best.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the technology is going to be sustainable, beneficial to the national economy, and a significant step towards the limitless future.