It's been a banner month for self-driving cars. At CES, at least a dozen companies made significant announcements related to autonomous vehicle development. For a few days, the future of transportation was there for anyone who cared to step away from a blackjack table to witness.
Self Driving Cars
A fake city rising from the middle of a Midwestern college campus is more than a proving ground for autonomous and connected car technology expected to revolutionize American roads. It's a lynchpin in Michigan's strategy to stay economically relevant and prevent automotive technology jobs from being poached by Silicon Valley.
An increasing number of people are starting to consider the potential downsides of a transition to autonomous cars. The FBI is already looking at them for the potential ill effects on law enforcement, and a scientist for Toyota is raising the possibility that driverless vehicles could actually be detrimental to the environment over the long term.
While Nissan and General Motors have sworn they will bring self-driving cars to market by 2020, Tesla Motors says it can happen much faster. We shouldn't be surprised, says Tesla Motor's Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel, since all of the technology that's needed, the sensors and processors, are already here.
Fears over domestic spying operations and privacy concerns have been splattered across the headlines with alarming frequency, and now it appears that even the auto industry isn't immune. According to a report from The Huffington Post, the chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, Deborah Hersman, has argued that black boxes should be mandatory in self-driving cars, like those that Google and Nissan have been working on.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has decided it's time to step back into the regulatory driver's seat, this time to outline the way forward for autonomous vehicles. Cars with partial self-driving capability are expected to arrive by 2020, and it's said that vehicles that can shuttle you around with any driver inputs should be here by 2025. In the interest of keeping everyone safe and ushering in a coherent state-by-state framework, NHTSA is planning a four-year initial research