In the coming years, the steady development of automated driving technology is expected to have a significant impact on the automotive and transportation industries. Whilst the technology for fully automated vehicles on public roads has not yet arrived, initial test programs have taken place, with more schedules. In certain countries, self-driving cars are already taking to the roads, although the technology is not yet ready to take over traditional driven cars. Drivers are currently relied on heavily in the industry, but with autonomous vehicles in the pipeline, it does seem that in coming years this technology will be able to take over the bulk of this work. By 2020, a few thousand autonomous vehicles are expected to be in service, with numbers expected to increase over time.
In the next few years, it is likely that more and more self-driving vehicles will be tested during pilot schemes in different countries around the world. Initially, automated vehicles are expected to be tested in the forms of local taxi services, and then move on to local delivery. Linking these vehicles with infrastructure will be the initial phase of a smart city approach when it comes to managing logistics in a certain local area. As the benefits are quantified and the level of experience grows, more and more areas will be covered. Eventually, it is expected that conventional vehicles with drivers will be limited and then excluded completely.
As self-driving cars increase in popularity, vehicle design will also see some significant changes. For vehicles which are made to move slowly around a certain area only, design specifications will be a lot different to those which are designed to move at a fast pace on freeways. For powering driverless city vehicles, it makes sense to incorporate design features such as electric engines that can be charged wirelessly. This will help to reduce fuel consumption, as it will be exclusive to driven, inner-city vehicles only. When designing self-driven vehicles, safety specifications will also need to be much different.
Future Industry Transformation Potential
Just over a hundred years ago, the automotive and transportation industry made a huge shift from using man power and horse-driven vehicles to the internal engine, ultimately delivering a level of freedom to transport and travel in such a way that previously, many people would have thought impossible. Self-driving vehicles hold this potential to bring about a similar transformation to the industry in the future. With the rise of automated vehicles, changes are expected to come about in the way that we live, work and travel – along with the potential for less fuel consumption which provides eco-friendly benefits along with the potential for many individuals and businesses to save money.
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