Are Self Driving Cars The Future?

By: James Ruppert
Volvo Driverless Cars - self driving autonomous vehicles

Self driving vehicles is a scary yet exciting concept. And with the government incentives amount to £40m in recent years, along with the aim of getting autonomous vehicles on the road by 2021, self driving culture is closer than we think.

 

Self Driving Car: An Unpopular Opinion?

A study carried out by Intelligent Car Leasing reveals that not everyone has as much confidence in autonomous vehicles as the government does.

They spoke to 1750 adults ages 18-65 with over two thirds admitting that they would feel safer in a human controlled car than a self driving one. However, a small number (1 in 6) stated that they would feel safest in a self-driving vehicle. 

If we look at the results more closely it seems that different genders and age ranges have opposing views. Female drivers feel safer in human driven vehicles, which was 10% higher than males. Individuals aged 65 or over, had a significantly higher level of trust in human driven cars which 17% more likely than 18-24 years olds.

The main reason people don’t want to use a driverless vehicle is that 42% of people ‘want to be in control’, with the second most popular, and perhaps more honest answer is ‘I wouldn’t trust the tech’.

 

Driverless Cars Already On The Road

Autonomous cars are already being tested across the UK as Ford Mondeos fitted with autonomous technology were tested in a complex urban environment in Stratford in October 2019. They’ve previously been tested in Milton Keynes, Coventry, Oxford, Bristol and Silverstone, so a self driving culture could really be upon us in 2021.

However, these tests haven’t all been a step in the right direction. In 2018, Uber had to suspend their self driving testing after one of their test drive vehicles hit and killed a woman crossing the road. It was soon identified that the vehicle was not programmed to identify jaywalkers. So it seems the opinions from the survey above are justified.

 

Autonomous Cars: How do they work?

Of course a self driving car will rely predominantly on technology, but how does it work? They’re made up of three separate technologies; sensors, connectivity and software.

The sensors aren’t that different from what we’re used to on our cars, they have safety features such as blind- spot monitoring, lane-keep assistance and forward collision warning.

The connectivity aspect of the car means the vehicles have access to the latest traffic data, weather, surface conditions and adjacent cars.

The software essentially ties everything together by using the information from the other two technologies to make decisions on steering, braking, speed and route guidance.

 

Are there any self driving cars on sale now?

There are 4 levels of automation that make up an autonomous vehicle, from no automation to partial automation to full automation. So if you’ve got cruise control features in your vehicle then you’re already on the driverless car ladder. 

So which vehicles can you get your hands on today? 

Audi A6 and A7 - Remote parking pilot allows you to park using an app

BMW 7 Series, 6 Series and 5 Series - Advanced adaptive cruise control means it can hold position, brake and accelerate with traffic up to 130mph, and park without you in the car. 

Kia Sorento, Kia Niro, Kia Optima - All feature Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) that include lane-keeping assistance and front lights that follow the car around a corner. 

Nissan Leaf - Includes a ProPilot system which can help you steer around a corner, as well as autonomous parking.

Renault Megane, Renault Scenic - Adaptive cruise control from 31mph - 93mph

Volkswagen Polo, Golf, Arteon and Touareg - Include Front Assist technology which can detect slowing traffic and reduce speed.

That’s just a few from a very long list, so if you like the sound of relaxing whilst driving, there’s definitely a car out there for you.

 

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