Makers of autonomous vehicles are running into a major roadblock in their efforts to bring self-driving cars to market – humans.
Sure, humans aren’t really supposed to be involved much in the process if the car drives itself. But there are different levels of autonomous vehicles. Some we’ve already seen, like cars with cruise control and those that can stay in one lane on their own.
And the next level of autonomous vehicle is one that can do just about everything, but would still need a human driver to take control in the case of an emergency. And that’s where the problem comes in. If the car drives itself the whole rest of the time, then a human driver isn’t likely to pay a whole lot of attention. So in an emergency situation, they’re unlikely to react quickly and effectively enough. In fact, drivers in tests continuously fell asleep while riding in these autonomous vehicles.
So some companies are instead looking to skip this step altogether. They want to only bring autonomous cars to market when they can do absolutely everything. So humans can simply sit back and relax the whole ride without having to even make an emergency stop.
It’s probably going to be awhile before we actually see any of these vehicles on the road. And even then, it’s going to require consumers to make a pretty big leap of faith since they won’t have had similar vehicles to warm up to the idea.
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But companies are putting safety first. And since they can’t really control natural human behavior, it probably makes sense for them to avoid putting people in those difficult situations.