Jul 15 2016

The Growth and Challenges of Self-Driving Cars

self drivingIn the eighteenth century, the idea of a car would have sounded like an absolute impossibility. Now in the twenty first century, cars themselves are everywhere, but we find ourselves grappling with the idea that self-driving cars are actually a legitimate possibility. It seems that everyday a new company is announcing its plans to release a self-driving car in the next five years. Are you ready for this change? Volvo Joints the Self-Driving Ranks Volvo Car Group is working to build and sell a car that can pilot itself down highways. The company will begin testing cars next year in Sweden, London, and China, and hopes for a 2021 release date. But Volvo still needs collaborators, unlike BMW, which is working with Intel Corp. and Mobileye NV. Volvo may know a thing or two about building quality vehicles, but they need help tackling the software and cloud services needed to develop a self-driving car. Chief Executive Officer Hakan Samuelsson recently stated, “It’s our ambition to have a car that can drive fully autonomously on the highway by 2021. This technology is something as a carmaker you cannot develop by yourself.” Of course, such rapid progress will be placing new pressure on lawmakers to pass new regulations to keep in pace with technology. The Fatal Tesla Crash Though self-driving cars are the hottest thing in development right now, a semi-autonomous Tesla car caused a fatal crash back in June, leaving many unanswered questions in the air. According to Tesla, the car was driving down a divided highway semi-autonomously using Autopilot when a tractor trailer crossed its path. The driver did not see the trailer, nor did the car’s sensors, mainly because the trailer’s white exterior blended with the brightly lit sky. The Model S Tesla actually went under the tractor trailer, which caused killed the driver. As Volvo’s recent announcement proves, one fatality will not prevent the self-driving car industry from growing, but there are certainly more concerns now about regulations.