Self-driving cars may seem to many to be some far off fantasy of the distant future. In reality, however, the future is now as Google is already testing self-driving cars on the roads of California. In fact, it is estimated that by 2020, there will actually be up to 10 million self-driving cars on the road. Here are three things you need to know about self-driving cars.
Self-driving cars can be either semi or fully-autonomous
In one sense, self-driving cars have already been on the market for some time. The term “self-driving” actually includes any car that can accelerate, brake, steer or chart a vehicle’s course with little to no driver interaction. Self-parking is a self-driving feature that has been on the market since 2006 and has been mainstream since around 2016. The next wave of self-driving cars can brake automatically if they sense oncoming traffic or pedestrians.
They are safer
While we may be able to detect things out of the corner of our eye, in truth a human is only capable of looking in one direction at a time. We may use mirrors or even a back-up camera to see what is happening behind us, but any time you focus on what it happening behind, you lose focus on what is happening in front of you. Cars outfitted with self-driving technology, however, are able to get a 360-degree view of what is happening around them at all times. In addition, they are also capable of plotting a number of different possibilities and outcomes in a fraction of a second to determine the best possible course of action and outcomes.
Laws are still being developed
If a person using a self-driving feature backs into another car while parking, who is at fault? The “driver” or the manufacturer of the car? These are some of the many questions that need to be answered from a legal standpoint in the next few years. New technology always brings with it a host of complicated legal questions and self-driving cars or even cars with self-driving features are no exception. In fact, while fully autonomous technology may not be that far in the offing, it might actually be the legal world that is the holdup to getting them to market.