Driver-less Cars Are Coming – And They’ll See Cyclists Coming Too
A video of a purported self-driving bicycle developed by Google in has been millions of times on social media platforms, leading many people to believe the company has developed the Estimated Reading Time: 3 mins.
No, this is not a real self-driving bicycle by Google
In , Google started the self-driving car project with the goal of driving autonomously over ten uninterrupted mile routes. In , Waymo, an autonomous driving technology company, became a subsidiary of Alphabet, and Google’s self-driving project became Waymo. Key Takeaways The hype around driverless cars has grown rapidly over the past several years, with many big technology companies getting behind the concept. Google launched its Waymo division to develop and market consumer-ready driverless vehicles around the globe.
The company, along with several others in the tech and auto industries, is betting that driverless cars will soon change the way we get around in a major way. Among the revolutionary changes will be safer roads, fewer fossil fuels, and lower transportation costs. These systems were quickly followed by technology that allows cars to self-park by sizing up a free spot and automatically steering into it, with the driver only controlling the accelerator and brake pedals.
Mercedes-Benz took autonomous driving even further when they introduced Drive Pilot, which allows the driver to hand over direct control of steering and speed in certain circumstances, while still supervising the overall operation of the car. However, despite some extraordinary advancements, in the year , self-driving cars are still out of reach, except in some trial programs.
The idea behind self-driving cars is fairly simple: build a car with cameras that can track all the objects around it. And once in-car computers know all driving rules, they should be able to navigate to their destination. Waymo’s cars, the leader in self-driving technology, use high-resolution cameras and lidar light detection and ranging, which is a way of estimating the distance to another object by bouncing light and sound off things.
Futurists estimate that hundreds of billions of dollars if not trillions will be lost by automakers, suppliers, dealers , insurers, parking companies, and many other car-related enterprises. And think of the lost revenue for governments via licensing fees , taxes and tolls, and by personal injury lawyers and health insurers.
Who needs a car made with heavier-gauge steel and eight airbags not to mention a body shop if accidents are so rare? Who needs a parking spot close to work if your car can drive you there, park itself miles away, only to pick you up later? Who needs to buy a flight from Boston to Cleveland when you can leave in the evening, sleep much of the way, and arrive in the morning? Fewer cars, period. F , General Motors Co.
But much of everything else could change. As an example, take front-facing seats; they could become an option, not a requirement. Infrastructure Transformation With fewer cars around, parking lots and spaces that cover roughly one-third of the land area of many U. That could mean temporary downward pressure on real estate values as supply increases. People will send out their car to run errands they would never do if they had to be in the car and waste their own time.
If the autonomous cars are shared vehicles and people pay for each trip, I think this will reduce demand, and thus vehicle miles traveled. A lot of traditional underwriting criteria will be upended. Some experts have even speculated that mandatory insurance for cars could be dropped. Chase noted that they could be used to share specific trips, as a kind of pay-as-you-go small-scale public transportation—for example, taking a disparate bunch of Manhattanites to the same beach in the Hamptons in one trip.
At the time the study was published, there were licenses for over 13, taxis in New York City. European countries are experimenting with the platooning of trucks. Who will have access to any driving information these vehicles store? According to Google, since Waymo Driver had been learning to drive large Class 8 trucks in the same way that it had learned how to drive passenger vehicles.
Waymo is currently testing its fleet of trucks in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, and has launched a pilot program for local delivery in the Phoenix, Arizona area. In October , Waymo and Daimler Trucks partnered to create an autonomous version of the Freightliner Cascadia truck. This is Waymo’s first foray into the freight industry. Daimler’s trucks will be equipped with autonomous technology that allows them to drive without a human but only in pre-defined areas.
Google has made it clear that it has no plans to build cars itself. Waymo is a self-driving technology company; it does not intend to manufacture and sell its own line of vehicles. It’s not clear when all the pieces will truly fall into place to allow for driverless technologies to safely navigate public roads among traditional cars. While experts agree that there will be a time in the future when this is true, they disagree on the timeline.
Google does not manufacture or sell its own cars. However, you can purchase a semi-autonomous Honda Civic that comes with advanced driver assistance systems ADAS that control the steering, lane changing, acceleration, and braking while the car is cruising on the highway.
You can also purchase a Tesla Motors vehicle that comes equipped with its semi-autonomous Autopilot feature. The Bottom Line However it plays out, these vehicles are coming—and fast. Their full adoption will take decades, but their convenience, cost, safety, and other factors will make them ubiquitous and indispensable. Such as with any technological revolution, the companies that plan ahead, adjust the fastest, and imagine the biggest will survive and thrive.
And companies invested in old technology and practices will need to evolve or risk dying. Article Sources Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts.