As you might expect, Google has broken the mould with the introduction of its own range of self-driving vehicles which were featured prominently in the news just a few weeks ago. The vehicles in question were said to have come close to a collision, although the fact is that the on-board software ensured this was avoided. However, are self-driving electric cars a step too far?
Is the trust factor there?
While there is no doubt that self-driving ,or “assisted” driving electric cars, will become an integral part of the industry in the future, there are perhaps more pressing concerns at the moment. The electric car industry has developed at lightning fast pace over the last decade and is indeed, in the minds of many experts, on the verge of cracking the mass market. This is likely to occur in the short to medium term and the building of a so-called trust factor will be a vital element of development.
For many years now we have seen great advances in areas of robotics and artificial intelligence which can literally take your breath away. There is no doubt whatsoever that self-driving technology is already available, although in many ways it is the need to build up the trust of the public which is the next and final piece of the jigsaw. It is all good and well watching vehicles avoid each other on the television, it is all good and well reading about successful tests, but the proof is most certainly in the pudding and at this moment in time is the consumer really ready?
Hack proof technology
One area of concern over the last few months has been the ability of hackers to gain access to the inner workings of various electric cars such as the Tesla. While the Tesla situation was a premeditated test in order to improve safety going forward, the fact remains that hackers were able to gain access and slow down the vehicle at relatively low speeds. These are the kind of headlines which will put back the self-driving/assisted driving industry, which is perhaps a little unfair when you bear in mind the progress made to date.
Despite the fact that the press is focusing upon this new technology and potential flaws in the short to medium term, the fact remains that there will always be some kind of manual override system. Perhaps not enough is being made of this facility, especially when you bear in mind that many vehicles today already have cruise control and self-serving technologies. Perhaps if the general public was to be made aware of the manual override which will be available, as well as the reliability of the underlying technology, this may not be such a tough nut to crack?
There is no doubt that Google has set the cat amongst the pigeons with the launch of its own range of self-driving electric cars. In many ways the recent publicity stunt where two cars avoided a head-on collision backfired somewhat, with the worldwide media highlighting this as a potential problem when in reality the technology worked perfectly. The technology is there, the electric cars are available, and all we need now is the trust factor from the general public. Would you trust a self-driving vehicle? Would you perhaps be more trusting if there was a manual override?