Car-maker titans Mercedes and Toyota are set to have a showdown of self-driving cars within the next 10 to 15 years. Both companies, who already have quite a history in automatic functions inserted into vehicles, have expressed their interest in the driverless car business that might take over the industry in the near future.
It could prove to be very convenient for the population to have several choices once new models of fully-autonomous cars will hit the market. The differences could range from price, design, functions, driving style or simple preference of a certain brand name.
Current car models are already on the move by introducing several automatic functions such as instant brakes when collision is possible, self parking or keeping themselves within the lanes with no required wheel handling.
And the advances don’t stop there. Companies such as Tesla Motors is will be offering a hand-free automatic driving system on highways later this summer, with Cadillac to follow next year. Mercedes and Infiniti car models will have features to keep within the lanes and steer themselves at high speeds, while Audi will introduce a low-speed self-driving feature to work in traffic jams in 2017.
It’s their hopes that by 2025, car companies will able to eliminate all manual functions and replace them with computer programming that might be safer for inexperienced or reckless drivers. It will also cut the costs for those unabled by physical impairments to drive themselves by saving the salary they would pay an actual human driver.
However, along the competition between car-makers, tech giants such as Google, Alibaba or Baidu are also developing their own versions of driverless cars. Their ambitions are also set a bit higher, a little too high by the reports of some experts, of releasing their model in the next 5 years.
So far, it’s uncertain if tech companies and car companies will be rivaling themselves in regards to car function. Perhaps Mercedes and Toyota might prefer making them available for purchase by the public while Google might focus on the angle of public transportation such as self-driving taxis. Or perhaps it will be the other way around.
Both the uses and timelines could favor either one. While auto-industry veterans might have a certain advantages of a long history and better knowledge of what drivers want, they also face the constant pressure to release new models, which might not enable them to focus entirely on the project. Tech companies, while at a disadvantage due to lack of experience in the domain, can take their time to develop a more efficient and better prepared self-driving vehicle.
There is no doubt that driverless cars will be present on our roads in the next fifteen years, certain sources confidently stating that 10% of vehicles worldwide will be fully autonomous while 15% will be semi-autonomous.
The questions, however, remain on who will be the first to release a self-driving model, which will be safer, which will be more cost-efficient, and, very importantly, what will these innovations do to our daily traffic.
Image source: carscoops.com