The idea of self-driving cars is not a new one. It has been around just as cars were developed and people had to manually drive them. The difference between then and now is that this technology has actually been developed and the automation is happening. Self-driving cars are no longer a grandiose idea, there are plenty of them on the road today. Google, Tesla, and Uber are among a few companies that have either built or put to use driverless technology. As with any new tech, it’s created with implementation and a vision in mind. Below are just a few of the grand ideas cooking in the heads of the leaders of the driverless pack.
Tesla & the self-driving car
Tesla has a long relationship with driverless. They have instituted a Beta program into many of their cars to give drivers the options of testing “Autopilot” out. After quite a long test run and a lot of data collection, on October 19th of this year, Tesla announced that every car produced will have full self-driving hardware in it. Now, this doesn’t mean purchasing a new Telsa translates into full automation without manual driving. Simply, this signals that Tesla is serious about driverless technology. The installation of their increased computing power and surrounding cameras into all cars will provide even more data to build from.
Tesla’s Elon Musk has even more in mind for the future of his self-driving cars. As part of his Master Plan: Part Deux, within ten years Tesla plans to have your car work for you. What does that possibly mean? Well, Musk is thinking of the hours during the day your Tesla would be parked. With driverless capabilities, your car could be added to a fleet of Teslas driving others to their destinations during the day – making you money! Imagine being an uber driver when you’re not in the car. That is his master plan.
Driverless taxi fleets
Elon Musk’s plan is not completely unique to Tesla. Uber launched their first self-driving fleet in Pittsburgh back in August. The ride-sharing company paired with Volvo to create a driverless version of the XC90 SUV. The fleet has been unleashed on Pittsburgh and users can order rides from these self-driving cars. The cars don’t arrive empty, though. Human drivers still sit behind the wheel in case they are needed for physical intervention.
Self-driving vehicles to move freight
A few companies, including Tesla and Uber’s Otto are looking into self-driving freight trucks. By making the shipping process autonomous, we can control delivery times and prevent accidents. For now, there are no plans to completely take truck drivers out of the picture. Driverless technology can work together with their human counterpart. One example is that autopilot features can take over when truck drivers need sleep. Simply switch on driverless options and let the truck do the driving for you. Although the testing phase is never ending, they have been deemed safe thus far.