In the age of AI advances, self-driving cars turned out to be harder than people expected.
It is 2030 you wake up in your appartement in Munich. After getting ready for work you go into the kitchen and prepare yourself a nice bowl of cereal and begin to check your emails as well as the daily news as usual. While eating you go into your carsharing App to order a car that will bring you to the office like every morning. After putting on your coat you walk down the stairs and go out the front door. A black sedan stands right bevor the house entrance. The door automatically opens as you step in front of the vehicle, and you get into the back seat. A comfortable voice appears, welcomes you and asks where you want to go.
Could that already be possible in 2030?
A study conducted by the Prognos-Forschungsinstitut suggests that by the year 2030 we will see the first cars with City-pilot on German roads which means that these vehicles can drive without a driver in cities. But this mobility shift is not happening as fast as it might seem. The first fully autonomous cars in Germany are expected to appear around the year 2040 which is way longer than most car manufactures have anticipated.
Another question that arises with autonomous driving is if it is the future of mobility.
Autonomous vehicles will have a major impact on society, safety, and the economy. For society it holds a big chance of supporting people with disabilities in their daily life because right now many people are not able to drive by themselves. This new technology also holds the possibility to be more productive during car rides. You will no longer have to focus on traffic which means that you can use that extra time to do other things. Autonomous driving is probably going to be cheaper as owning a car because Robot Busses and Taxis are becoming much more affordable. Regarding the safety issue autonomous vehicles will be less likely to make errors which lead to accidents because 90% of all crashes appear due to human error. Overall, you can say that autonomous driving is most likely going to be the next big thing in the automotive industry.
From a technical standpoint autonomous driving is most certainly going to be achievable, but you also have to take a look at legal regulations. Even though Germany is not the industry leader in producing the technology for these driverless vehicles yet, it still leads in the legal perspective. In July 2021 the German Bundestag passed a law that makes autonomous driving in level -3- (Conditional Driving Automation) and even level -4- (High Driving Automation) under certain conditions possible. That makes Germany the first country worldwide to set a legal standard for autonomous driving. Still other countries are adapting faster to the shift as Germany. For example, cities like San Francisco (USA) and Shenzhen (China) are already allowing driverless Robotaxis to drive on public roads. Germany and German car manufactures have a long road ahead if they want to become the leader in autonomous driving.
Written by: Antonius Eich