A driverless future

Would you fly with an unmanned airplane? Would you go to work in an unmanned vehicle? It might sound scary now, but it is very likely this is what the future of traveling will look like.

Imagine, the amount of car accidents that will decrease radically, no more traffic jams, the amount of time you save and be able to spend more effectively. Some glimpses of this imaginary future are showing. We see a trend in ‘connected’ cars. Where communication technologies, information systems and safety devices come together. This drastically changes the relationship between car and driver. The ‘connected car’ seems the first step into a driverless future.

Audi, for example, is working on a car that can park itself while the driver uses a smartphone instructing the car. McKinsey, a consulting firm, states that by 2020 around a quarter of all cars will be online. Digital dashboards are evolving rapidly. Imagine the amount of information and communication digital dashboards could provide. This might involve some safety issues that need to be fixed though. Tesla’s digital dashboard is a nice step, but the design is really ugly and it isn’t too functional yet. Connected cars will also self-diagnose problems. Report them and offering options to fix the problems.

While automation and connectivity increases, there will also be less need to drive or even own a car yourself. Do you think sophisticated ‘connected’ cars will be the future anytime soon? What are the limits (of course, considering potential safety issues)? As kids we all dreamed about driving KITT right?






4 responses to “A driverless future”

  1. 356509lr says :

    I think we are getting very close to being able to take our hands off the wheel and sit back to enjoy the ride. Not only is Audi working with parking as you mentioned, a new startup called Cruise will deliver a $10000 kit in 2015 that can connect to new Audi models and provide autopilot on highways. These systems seem to rely heavily on mapping capabilities as Cruise can so far only offer the service in the San Francisco area they have mapped. Google’s strategy to enter the race to build driverless car doesn’t seem so distant knowing their mapping capabilities.

    Adding connectivity to the mix can then further improve this movement by removing traffic jams for instance with real-time routing or increasing the utilization of cars which normally spend most of the time sitting in a parking lot. Safety on the roads is only likely to improve if the driver is taken out of the equation, as all cars will be able to sense each other and relay information about potential hazards on the way. Downtown fender benders caused by distractions and lack of coordination would no longer occur when cars are able to anticipate each others’ movements.


  2. zachary27 says :

    Interesting post. I do think sophisticated ‘connected’ cars will be the future, maybe even sooner than one might think. At the end of 2015, as Europe’s first, there could be driving a driverless car between station Ede-Wageningen and the University of Wageningen. This pilot project will be set up with two four-seater cars that will be driving on the public highway here in the Netherlands.
    One thing you did not mention is employment. Although the driverless cars can change the world, as you mention, in a positive way I am a bit worried considering the employment rate. Will this new technology lead to fewer jobs as professions like taxi drivers, pizza delivery drivers and truck drivers will lose their jobs? Or will new jobs like hi-tech mechanics or people who can build new infrastructure offset these losses?


  3. 350952gb says :

    Thank you for this post. Connected Cars tests were already successfully in Germany, but I think it is the public who doesn’t accept ‘driverless vehicles’.

    The parkshuttle at Kralingse Zoom drives computerized and so without a driver. More public transportation vehicles are driverless nowadays, for example the metro in Dubai and Singapore. This is generally accepted by the public, but they are still skeptic about private cars.

    As Zachary already commented, in 2015 there will be a pilot in Ede-Wageningen. In 2014 driverless private cars aren’t allowed yet on public roads, but this will change in 2015.

    This pilot is a taxi car and therefore also not a private owned car. I think it will be quite hard to be generally accepted by a population to have driverless cars at highways or other public roads. Since the technology is not developed completely, minor features like the connection part with other cars needs to be developed.

    Though, I think it will be an option for cargo airplanes. Without pilots it will not be necessary to have a pressure cabin. These airplanes will be lighter and use less carbon and therefore less polluting. Therefore I think airplanes without pilots for cargo use are a good idea.


  4. 358150tb says :

    As a car freak I really like your Blog! When I was checking Facebook this evening I saw that last night (11/10/2014) Tesla has introduced an automatic drive option in the new Tesla P85D. So the “Driverless future” becomes really close. This specific new model of Tesla comes with an auto-pilot feature that uses sensors to detect the road, lights, street signs and other cars. A forward facing camera and the 12 sensors, which all can see up to 16 feet in each direction, makes this possible The automatic drive option will be activated with just a press on the button, which is highly impressive. Unfortunately it isn’t fully automatic. The CEO of Tesla has said that in theory it is possible that the car can drive itself, but that “the levels of redundancy are not there for full autonomy”, according to Elon Musk. On the site below you can check the video of the car by yourself if you want to.



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