Will It Ever Become Normal?
Whether you’ve noticed it or not our driving has become more and more automated since the beginning of our relationship with cars. We’ve come a long way from heavy steering, clunky gearboxes, premixing oil and fuel and even carrying a mechanic along with you on our way to what we now drive. Modern cars have automatic chokes, gearboxes, electric power steering… The list goes on and on. But what is the next step in this evolution? Cars that drive themselves?
Think autonomous driving and one brand jumps out pretty much instantaneously – Tesla. They’ve been at the forefront of self-driving cars for the last decade or so. We’ve all seen videos of people experiencing being driven by their own cars and we all have an opinion on it. Some people love the idea of being chauffeured around by their own car and some people absolutely hate the idea of not being in control. Tesla has a 3 tier system with differing amounts of autonomy but all require the driver to have their hands on the wheel. The amount of autonomy also depends on the regulations of whichever country you live in. Many manufacturers have tried to meet this halfway by deeming that the drivers retain contact with the steering wheel for the sake of safety. Mercedes is now catching up with systems such as ALC that will make the car automatically change lanes and even overtake for you.
All of these are optional extras mind you. And they are not cheap. But with systems such as lane assist being found in cheaper cars like the Yaris it looks like this tech will eventually filter down to a more affordable level.