Just a few years ago, autonomous cars, or self-driving cars, were the stuff of science fiction. In just a short time, however, driverless cars have gone from science fiction to science fact.
This month saw the first cross country trip of an autonomous vehicle when Delphi piloted theirs from California to New York without incident.
With the technology for driverless cars quickly becoming viable, they could become mainstream in the next few years.
If you’re wondering how a decades-old tradition of driving our own cars could be replaced by an era of driverless cars in the span of a few years, you’re not alone.
Here’s a look at how things might develop in a series of three stages.
Stage one: Limited autonomy
Believe it or not, we are already in stage one.
This stage is characterized by vehicles that are designed with a multitude of automated safety features. For several years now automated safety features have become more advanced.
These same features are what’s going to go into making fully autonomous vehicles.
Here is a partial list of stage one technologies:
- Lane warning systems which automatically keep your car in its designated lane.
- Adaptive cruise control which automatically accelerates and decelerates to match the flow of traffic.
- Blind spot detection systems which use radar/cameras to “see” around corners.
Stage two: Semi-autonomy
Stage 2 is just getting started though we’re still several years away from really being in it. It is characterized by the interconnection of vehicles, roads, and traffic signals. In stage 2, all cars will be sharing data with all other cars and they will even share data with roads, signs, and traffic signals.
This allows vehicles to be “aware” of what’s around them like never before.
Stage three: Full autonomy
Stage three is the end goal, and for now, it’s still solidly in the realm of science fiction.
In stage three, cars have highly advanced sensors that go far beyond what is commercially available today.
Reaching this stage will depend on highly advanced mapping technology which will allow cars to navigate any road in any weather regardless of shared data.
It isn’t until stage three that cars could be truly driverless not even requiring a driver to step in under certain circumstances. Remember, as long as humans are still behind the wheel, it’s important to get affordable, high quality coverage for your vehicles. Call (855) 683-7757 for a quote.
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