Self-driving vehicles are certainly not ready for the road just yet, but they are quickly getting there. So how long until we all have our own personal chauffeur vehicle? Business insider predicts 10 million self driving cars will be on the road by the year 2020. But are these vehicles ready for the hustle and bustle of rush hour traffic, the delicacy of school zones and the every so tricky decision to run through or stop short at a yellow light?
These automobiles are still in prototype phase, but don’t be disappointed, there may be cars in nearby neighborhoods with self driving features that have gone unrecognized, until now.
Intelligent parking assist was first released to the public in 2003 and it quickly led to further innovations. The first system was designed to allow vehicles to parallel park themselves without any input from the driver, simply pull up to the desired parking spot and let parking assist do the rest. The success of this autonomous maneuvering feature inspired most major manufacturers to implement their own similar features into their vehicles. Parking assist can now park your car parallel, angled or perpendicular to the road. An unreleased program claims to have developed a fully automated parking assist that can be activated from a smartphone or smartwatch, allowing the driver to exit the vehicle and essentially valet park their own vehicle.
Blind spot recognition
Checking your blind spots is an essential of every day driving practice. This can make or break the success of your merging efforts, so what happens if you think your blind spot is empty and you try merging into someone else? This happens all too often, and luckily this problem has been addressed and solved. In 2007 the Blind Spot Information System was released to the public, it offered the ability to check the vehicle’s blind spots and use a small light indicator to inform the driver of a potential obstacle in the blind spot. This feature was taken a step further, and can now prevent the driver from merging lanes if the software detects an obstruction in the way. This automated feature has undoubtedly removed a significant amount of human error collisions.
Blind spot collisions aren’t the only accidents vehicles can prevent automatically. Collision warning systems along with brake support have the ability to stop the car if the driver is unable to do so, or unaware of the surroundings. Sensors and monitors in vehicles have the ability to recognize if the car ahead of you has made a sudden stop or change in speed, the system can then alert the driver via audio and visual indicators, and even stop itself if the driver does not react. This has proven successful in reducing rear end collisions as well as back up collisions.
Although these autonomous vehicles have the ability to prevent some human error, they are not flawless and remain as test subjects. Having our own personal chauffeur vehicle may not be right around the corner, but our cars are beginning to drive themselves more and more with each new model release.