Experts Think That Self-Driving Vehicles are Years Away

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While we’re constantly bombarded with news of self-driving vehicles every single day, we’re also no strangers to autonomous cars having accidents. It is an undeniable fact that this technology is the way to go forward, but it is also undeniable that it is still in its infancy. Experts on the subject share this opinion and give us the reasons why that’s the case.

The first and most glaring disadvantage of current autonomous systems is performance under foul weather, such as snow, rain, and fog. The reason is quite simple here – these systems rely on cameras and radars to see the road ahead, and snow and rain limit their vision. While human beings are designed to see correctly in such weather thanks to years of evolution, autonomous systems are still very limited in this regard. According to Raj Rajkumar, an electrical and computer engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University, “It’s like losing part of your vision.”

On top of that, most places on Earth have different lines and curbs, and some locations don’t have them at all. Autonomous cars use road lines to navigate, and losing them means that the vehicle will lose the ability to follow the road ahead. When a fully self-driving vehicle launches on the market, it should work everywhere, not just in one area.

Another limiting factor to autonomous technology is human drivers. Let’s face it – we’re pretty horrendous at driving. Most of the human drivers don’t drive by the rules, which is a complete opposite to autonomous systems which are designed to work only within selected parameters.

As with most human drivers, though, autonomous systems have problems with left turns at intersections when there’s no green light. According to Waymo CEO John Krafcik, the same challenges that apply for human drivers also apply for self-driving technology continuing “So sometimes unprotected lefts are super challenging for a human, sometimes they’re super challenging for us.”

In the end, experts think that the market is still not ready for a fully autonomous vehicle. Most consumers still don’t accept this technology and fatal crashes with self-driving cars, such as the one in Phoenix with an Uber vehicle, certainly don’t help in this regard. According to a study by AAA in March, 71% of the examined were afraid to be driven in autonomous vehicles.

Bianca Van der Watt

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