Has the Future Arrived with Self-Driving Cars?


Self-driving cars are the new craze of the 21st Century, however, experiments on autonomous cars have been in progress since the 1920s. Experiments include: using transmitting antenna to send out radio impulses in 1926, which was operated by a second car following the first; and in 1939, testing radio-controlled electric cars propelled via electromagnetic fields from circuits embedded in the roadway. It was not until the mid-1970s that research began to direct towards intelligent automated logic of the driving car itself, instead of embedding wires into the road or having live radio-transmitted directions sent to the car.

Google, Mercedes-Benz, and Toyota are only some of the companies that are striving to create these traveling robotic machines. Some countries, such as Estonia, have now begun integrating these automated cars by allowing them on regular roads, while other countries, such as the Netherlands, are only allowing testing to be done on public roads.

Germany is also moving forward by allowing the testing of these self-driving cars on the roads, in which drivers will be allowed to take their hands off the wheel and eyes off the road. Outside of just test driving, currently driverless cars are legal to drive in Germany, however, a driver still must be present behind the wheel at all times just in case.

In terms of safety, self-driving cars being tested are extremely safe, however there been a couple of accidents. As research shows, “94% of all of accidents involving self-driving cars were due to human error”, many of which are because of the other driver’s inability to drive properly or safely.

Despite these safety considerations, most automobile companies are aiming to have fully developed automated cars within the next 10 years. Once safety is not an issue and the cars have been extensively tested, most countries will have fully integrated self-driving cars within the near future. Thereafter, the market will only expand as the self driving cars become accepted and affordable among society and become more and more available to larger amounts of people.