It isn’t just Tesla now, it’s also Apple, Google, and Nissan who are already cranking out prototypes and test-driving autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles. Now it’s also Ford.
Google and Ford recently announced their decision to build driverless cars together. The challenges ahead for these two, as well as for all of the other companies innovating with driverless technology range from technical obstacles to the societal apprehension of driverless cars -- and there will also be many legal issues and government regulations directed towards this growing industry.
The Google-Ford agreement appears to be non-exclusive, giving other automotive companies out there the hope that they too can merge their technology with Google’s autonomous-vehicle tech in the near future.
Here are the latest updates in the driverless car arena:
Tesla announced this October autopilot features on its driverless car, Model S, which include but are not limited to: Forward radar, a camera mounted by the rear-view mirror, 12 sensors that can sense objects within 16 feet of the car, and the ability to receive over-the-air software updates from Tesla so owners don’t have to bring their cars in for service. Elon Musk personally tested the features and they will be available to customers in late 2016.
Nissan announced its plans to launch its autonomous vehicles program by 2020.
Google has now been test-driving its autonomous vehicles for six years now and driverless vehicles are now a common sight in its headquarters of Mountain View. The program has logged in over 1 million miles of self driving on public streets in California and Texas.
Why is this important?
If this partnership comes through, this will change the blueprint that has already been set out for the driverless car industry, that is, developing driverless cars will be a possibility for most companies that dedicate themselves exclusively to automobile-making. Google is not held back by the typical details that bog down typical automotive companies like dealer networks and customer perceptions. Google is free to experiment with its autonomous tech and will continue to be free in areas where Tesla is not. For although Tesla is not a traditional dealer either and has achieved the daunting task of setting up a car company to use its own technology, it does not have as an expansive reach in place as a network like Ford does in the car industry.
Oh, and Google has already revealed a patent about how its self driving cars could talk to pedestrians.
The Software Updates
Soon, driving your brand new car out of the dealership won’t mean that it will automatically devalue. With innovations like Tesla’s plans to send software updates over the cloud to its cars, driverless cars will have more longevity than the average car, with room to improve as more innovations are set into place.
Imagine a future where we have an electric car waiting to swivel through traffic, quickly take us to work, and park itself for us? Well that future may be nearer than ever. The benefits of having self-driving cars around will range from less traffic congestion and car accidents, to a cleaner and more sustainable environment.
At this moment, the only constant in automotive technology (and tech in general) is rapid advancement. We can’t say for sure whether we will live in a world where cars are fully automated and integrated into our legal and daily systems in as little as two years, but we know that nothing but innovation will come out these next few years.
Meanwhile, as we wait to see what driverless cars have to offer the mobile world, we’ll be busy helping our clients envision what their businesses could look like. Contact us online today to schedule to speak with us. Happy New Year from the Lolay team!