This summer, the concept of autonomous vehicles made great strides with investors. Pittsburgh based Argo AI received billion-dollar doses of investments from the likes of Ford and VW. While Ford to Invest $1 Billion in Autonomous Vehicle Tech Firm Argo AI over the next five years seems aggressive, the urgency that companies feel to be a part of this disruptive mobility industry is palpable. And while the use of autonomous vehicles could potentially have a huge beneficial impact on the more than 1.35 billion traffic-related fatalities globally in 2018, what is the road getting there going to look like?
And, according to Tech Crunch, while ubiquitous use of autonomous vehicles is decades away, there are many stops in between. This is a good thing because Uber’s latest litigation including autonomous vehicle-related manslaughter in Arizona is quite indicative we are far from using this tech to save lives instead of putting them at risk. Aside from the inevitable overhaul of various legislation and policy regulation what are the steps that are going to drive this new world of mobility automation? Not to worry because BMW, one of the top players in the autonomous vehicle race, has your questions answered in a new infographic on the five steps to autonomous driving.
The first level in this process is one in which the general public is mostly already entrenched. From helpful copilot assistant technologies, current drivers already enjoy the convenience of parallel parking assistance. The second level has most recently been introduced in cars that will autostop if the vehicle is going to hit something. But this is only one part of it. What we really haven’t seen much of yet is the automatic steering but we will soon see this steering takeover complementing the lane assistant technology in the mainstream. Level three brings us to cruise control on steroids! Where the vehicle will be able to fully takeover on long distances without complex motorways but the ability for a driver to take over momentarily. Level four brings us the widespread ability for automated vehicles to navigate complex motorways such as city driving, with the ability to respond to real-time traffic scenarios. Of course, level five is the dream realized. Where full automation takes care of any and all motoring tasks with the passengers not having to have any ability or intention of taking over from the autonomous operation.
It seems as if we are already well on our way through the five-levels as identified by BMW. If this is, in fact, an accurate estimation of the autonomous mobility timeline, do you really think it will take decades to see the tech fully integrated into society as most experts have hinted at? And since we can never have nice things without ruining them, what are the biggest drawbacks or potential risks you see as pertinent to the conversation?