If you are up-to-date on the latest vehicle and technology news, you may have heard about self-driven cars. These cars, like their name implies, are fully automatic and requires no input from the “driver”, aside from planning a destination.
What can self-driven cars do?
These cars might seem like a gimmick, but if automated cars are ever implemented in the future, it will have massive implications throughout the world especially if it concerns fleet management. How so? Let’s take a look at the idealised traits of an automatic car:
- On-board computer will do the driving itself. No need for manual control or drivers, but manual control is still available in case of emergencies.
- The car’s safety systems can detect collisions and incoming accidents ahead, and avoid them as well.
- Human error, one of the most common causes of vehicle accidents, is completely eliminated.
- Anyone can “drive”, no matter how young, disabled, inexperienced, or inebriated they are.
- The car can drive itself without any passengers or drivers at all.
- Improved speeds. Computers are extremely precise, which means they can drive faster and better than humans.
- Reduced traffic. There will probably be a central system that regulates each car, thus the cars can automatically adjust its driving, which increases their efficiency.
- Less need for police enforcement.
- Cheaper cars. Most of the designs in current cars are influenced by safety precautions. Since self-driving cars have eliminated or reduced accidents, they may not require the various safety features.
For fleet management, this implies huge savings, no more risks, and increased efficiency. There may not even be fleet management in the future anymore, although vehicle leasing will probably be still available.
Self-driven cars are currently in development
Right now, self-driving cars are undergoing research and testing, but if further developed, they will likely become widespread thanks to the several benefits that they offer.
Google has been testing self-driving cars for some time now, and their cars have logged about 300,000 miles without encountering a single accident. This is still impressive even if it excludes an incident in which one of the self-driving cars was rear-ended at a traffic light, which was caused by the other driver. Compare that to a collision rate of about .366% per 100,000 vehicle miles travelled when driven by humans. Of course, they have yet to test these cars in extreme conditions like snow and other situations.
However, it might still be a while before self-driving cars will be completely accepted by society. Even with all of the benefits, some people will always be stubborn to change. We expect that before fully automated cars will enter the mainstream, hybrid cars will be introduced first. Yes, it’s quite similar to the introduction of electric cars.