No hands

De­spite very real projects by search en­gine Google and au­to­mo­bile man­u­fac­tur­ers in­clud­ing Elon Musk’s Tesla, it’s hard to be­lieve that self-driv­ing cars will ever be fea­si­ble. But they are, and may be closer than you think.


in­clud­ing Cape Town and Jo­han­nes­burg. The fu­ture Uber, and oth­ers like it, are work­ing to­wards, how­ever, re­moves the hu­man driver from the equa­tion. In­stead, cars are re­garded as shared in­fra­struc­ture. They drive them­selves and use com­plex al­go­rithms to op­ti­mise traf­fic f low.

As Gart­ner notes in its re­search, the so­ci­etal changes will be pro­found.

Ac­cord­ing to a June 2014 Gart­ner survey of over 6 000 con­sumers, twothirds of US and Ger­man ve­hi­cle own­ers are in­ter­ested in pur­chas­ing a fully or par­tially au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cle the next time they shop for a ve­hi­cle.

Au­ton­o­mous and driver­less ve­hi­cles still have many ob­sta­cles to over­come be­fore they meet all con­sumer, in­dus­try and le­gal re­quire­ments, but de­spite such chal­lenges, the so­ci­etal ben­e­fits from au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles could out­weigh po­ten­tial dis­ad­van­tages and con­cerns, notes the re­search pa­per.

“The evo­lu­tion of the self-driv­ing ve­hi­cle from au­to­mated to au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles is al­ready un­der­way, and sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ments are be­ing made by in­di­vid­ual com­pa­nies and the en­tire au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try to ac­cel­er­ate the pace of in­no­va­tion and do ac­tual pro­to­typ­ing on pub­lic roads,” said Gart­ner an­a­lyst Thilo Koslowski.

“We pre­dict that by 2016, three com­pa­nies will have an­nounced con­crete plans for up­com­ing au­to­mo­bile launches that will of­fer au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cle tech­nol­ogy.”

By 2025, ve­hi­cle-to-ve­hi­cle and ve­hi­cle-to-in­fra­struc­ture com­mu­ni­ca­tion will be avail­able i n ap­prox­i­mately 30% of pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cles in use in ma­ture mar­kets, which will in­crease the re­li­a­bil­ity and ac­cel­er­ate the roll­out of au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles. By 2030, ac­cord­ing to Gart­ner, ve­hi­cles ca­pa­ble of driv­ing au­tonomously will rep­re­sent ap­prox­i­mately 25% of the pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cle pop­u­la­tion in use in ma­ture mar­kets.

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