Will self driving vehicles become a daily reality in the near future? And how will people’s attitudes have to shift in order for autonomous driving to gain widespread acceptance? The Audi research “SocAIty” looks into these and other issues. It also dispels some common misconceptions about the subject.
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No. 1: Self driving vehicles will be similar to regular automobiles, except they will not have drivers.
Aerodynamics, in particular, is a critical aspect in determining the range of electric vehicles, which is why they continue to play an important role in design. In this aspect, the appearance of vehicles and other modes of transportation will not alter much as automation increases. But one thing is certain: in the future, the design will be centered on the inside.
Passengers’ comfort will be prioritized, which is why, in certain situations, seats will no longer be required to face the direction of travel. This interior design flexibility will provide passengers with a broad range of uniquely personalized experiences, such as communication or leisure, work, or retreat.
Everything that is no longer required – the pedals, gearbox, and steering wheel – will be temporarily retracted, maximizing passenger space.
No. 2: Autonomous vehicles will be able to drive anyplace once the software is built and distributed.
Self-driving vehicles will need entirely dependable and all-around safe software, not just for the car, but for the whole surroundings, to get them on the road. This will gradually alter the appearance of our cities: as a result, infrastructure must be updated to integrate digital traffic signals and road sensors.
Cities will become more digital, allowing for an increase in the number of self driving vehicles. This will make cities safer and more relaxing, with traffic flowing without interruption or congestion in the best-case scenario.
No. 3: Driving will become less enjoyable as self-driving vehicles become more common.
This fallacy is a clear cause of worry for vehicle enthusiasts: being relegated to the position of passive passenger. Some people worry that their automobile will hinder them from traveling across the nation and enjoying the sensation of their foot on the gas pedal and their hands on the wheel. Self driving vehicles, on the other hand, will not put an end to the joy humans experience behind the wheel.
If a consumer want to drive their own automobile, no manufacturer will hinder them from doing so. Vehicle owners will continue to have the option of driving the automobile themselves or delegating control to the car in undesirable conditions such as highway stop-and-go traffic.
No. 4: Self-driving automobiles constitute a security risk.
This is not the case. Self driving vehicles will be just as susceptible as manually operated ones. However, a hacking assault on a self driving car‘s safety-related systems might have much more devastating consequences. As a result, manufacturers are continually developing and enhancing security systems against cyberattacks, both within the car and at the back end.
As automobiles become more connected to their surroundings, the effort necessary to provide dependable and constantly up-to-date cyber security grows. At the same time, autonomous cars will improve road safety, as well as efficiency and comfort, which will benefit society as a whole.
No. 5: Self-driving cars will require fewer parking spaces.
Self-driving vehicles will not need a reduction in parking space. They will, however, make far better use of it. Furthermore, if an increasing number of automobiles are shared via sharing models, vehicle density in urban areas may decrease.
To give you some context, according to the German Environment Agency, private automobiles are now driven for an average of just one hour every day.
No. 6: Although the technology exists, there are currently few rules governing self-driving vehicles.
True, technical growth in nations like the United States and China seems to be developing faster than in Germany and Europe. It is also true that German legislators established a regulatory framework early on that prioritizes safety in the development and implementation of self-driving technologies.
Germany is even regarded a pioneer in this regard by international standards. Under certain conditions, autonomous driving systems have been authorized to take over duties that were previously the exclusive duty of humans since 2017. (SAE Level 3).
A legislative framework was formed in June 2021 that allows Level 4 and higher autonomous vehicles to operate frequently in public traffic, but only within specific zones (e.g. A-to-B shuttle traffic and “people mover” buses on authorized routes). This statute is a first step toward a more complete regulatory framework, which is now under development.
As a result, the officials enforcing the rules are not impeding progress. They are merely adhering to the legally mandated philosophy of safety first.
No. 7: Autonomous cars may be forced to make life-or-death judgments under severe circumstances.
In the case of autonomous driving, the deciding element today is that it is the people who program the vehicle, not the car itself, who make the decision. Only what the software prescribes may be reflected by the vehicle. And, as all prior study has shown, cars are much less prone to human mistake than people are – for example, owing to their resistance to fatigue even on extended rides.
Many people are concerned about whether a computer can make the best decision in a dangerous circumstance. This isn’t the first time the topic of autonomous driving has come up. Indeed, as the “trolley dilemma” illustrates, it has been a topic of ethical debate for decades.
Imagine a circumstance in which one person could redirect a speeding trolley onto a side track where one person is unmoving, sparing the lives of five persons trapped on the original track. Would this be considered a crime? Is it preferable for the individual not to act at all? Or did the person make the right decision and act to prevent the greatest amount of harm?
With the rise of driverless vehicles, this debate has resurfaced: However, according to the research, the essential point of the discussion is that a self-driving vehicle would not make its own decision in a dangerous circumstance, but would instead reflect the software decisions made by its makers. It can and will only presume the ethical judgments and values of those who develop it – and apply them without interpreting them.
No. 8: Self driving vehicles will be so costly as a technology that only a few individuals will be able to purchase them.
The development of self driving vehicles is a high-risk venture. Of course, this has an influence on product costs in the short and medium run. However, prices will decline again in the long run, once they are ready for serial production and the research expenditures have been amortized.
Furthermore, the anticipated improvement in road safety would considerably limit the harm caused by a self-driving automobile. As a result, repair and insurance costs are projected to drop even more. Another major consideration is the anticipated shift in mobility usage: Some autonomous cars in urban areas will be owned by mobility companies rather than individuals.
Alternatively, they will be shared by a group of individuals using sharing principles. This, too, improves utilization efficiency while also lowering expenses.